Pennon claims government’s energy policy is biased towards wind power

City A.M. Reporter
BRITISH water and waste company Pennon launched a fresh assault on the government’s renewable energy policy yesterday, calling it “wedded” to wind and neglectful of projects to generate power from waste.

The company, which combines South West Water and waste management company Viridor, unveiled a target to increase the capacity of its waste-to-energy plants to 300 megawatts (MW) by 2015, from current levels of around 130MW.

That level of capacity would be roughly equivalent to Europe’s biggest windfarm, the 322MW Whitelee site in Scotland.

Yet Colin Drummond, chief executive of Viridor, said it was being held up by the UK’s onerous planning process for waste-fuel plants.

“The government seems completely wedded to wind. Obviously they have got a localism agenda, but it seems to me quite wrong that in economically difficult circumstances I have got approaching £1bn of energy facilities that are held up in planning and that would be readily financeable immediately,” he said.

Pennon issued the attack alongside its half-year results. Adjusted pre-tax profit rose 0.7 per cent to £96.2m for the six months to 30 September, beating a forecast of £91m.

In a note to clients, Credit Suisse said cost savings at the group were impressive but unlikely to continue at a similar rate.