Deepening Energy Crisis: Britain Has Become ‘Uninvestable’, Analyst Warns

  • Date: 02/03/14
  • Danny Fortson, The Sunday Times

The German owner of Npower is set to write off hundreds of millions of pounds on the value of its British power plants in the latest sign of a deepening crisis among the big six energy suppliers. RWE, one of Europe’s largest power companies, will reveal the British loss as part of an expected £4bn writedown of the value of its fleet of power stations.

 

 

RWE npower’s Major Power Plants in the UK (2007)

The loss arises from pollution taxes that are forcing the closure of old coal-fired plants. Big subsidies for renewable energy, meanwhile, have made even gas-burning plants, which are much cleaner than coal stations, loss-making.

The hit will alarm Whitehall, which is increasingly worried about the lights going out. Companies have stopped building new power stations amid a political and regulatory backlash, sparked last year by Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy prices.

RWE, for example, has not commissioned a new plant in Britain since 2009, when it broke ground on a big wind farm and a gas-fired plant in Pembroke. Since then it has sold out of a consortium to build new nuclear plants, closed down plants capable of lighting more than 4m homes, and cancelled a proposed £4bn offshore wind farm. [...]

Peter Atherton, analyst at Liberum Capital, said Britain had become uninvestable as political pressure over soaring household bills has intensified. “I can think of a dozen very good reasons not to invest in the UK, and not one good one to invest here this side of the election,” Atherton said.

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