Speed up new gas plant at Coryton, minister begged

Plans for a new gas power station in Essex are being held back because investors won’t cough up until the project bags government subsidy. The dilemma was revealed by local […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Plans for a new gas power station in Essex are being held back because investors won’t cough up until the project bags government subsidy.

The dilemma was revealed by local MP Stephen Metcalfe yesterday in the House of Commons when he asked Energy Minister Michael Fallon to help avoid “unnecessary delay”.

He said energy firm Intergen is “keen and ready to build a new super-efficient gas-fired power station” at Coryton.

But he told the Commons: “The pension fund and Chinese owners, however, will not commit to the £500 million investment required until Intergen has won a contract to supply at the capacity auction in December.

“Does the Minister agree that that is causing an unnecessary delay and will he agree to meet me and Intergen to see what we can do to bring forward this important investment?”

Energy Minister Michael Fallon wouldn’t give anything away. He replied: “I am certainly happy to meet my honourable Friend and any potential investors and to reassure them that we are now seeing a wave of potential investment under the Energy Act. As I said, we plan to run the first capacity auction later this year, in which we expect considerable interest in gas-fired stations.”

Later, the MP for Thurrock said he hoped InterGen will “reconsider their current position” and start work on the plant “as soon as is feasibly possible.” He said the new plant could bring half a billion pounds into the local economy.