HC Deb 03 December 1962 vol 668 cc932-3
42. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Minister of Power if he will state the approximate comparative building costs of a dual-fired 2,000 M.W. power station and of a coal-fired station of the same capacity.

Mr. Wood

I am told by the Generating Board that a dual-fired power station with a capacity of 2,000 M.W., sited to take seaborne fuel, might cost £78 million campared with £72 million for a station on the same site designed only to burn coal.

Mr. Dalyell

Notwithstanding these figures, and in the light of the position in the north-eastern coalfields and in Scotland, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman would not reconsider his decision to have the Medway power station dual-fired and make it a coal-fired station?

Mr. Wood

The position is that the station which will be built on the Medway, to which I have given my consent, is able to take, as the hon. Member knows, not only oil but also coal, possibly from the North-East. I think it is right that the industry should have this flexibility to use in this place the fuel which it thinks most economical.

Mr. T. Fraser

When the right hon. Gentleman considers the economics of building a power station such as this, does he not also take into account that it will cost the consumers of electricity an additional £6 million to ensure that this station will be able to take either coal or oil? It may very well be that the interests of the nation as a whole would be better served by constructing a coal-fired station, thereby ensuring that we would use the fuel we have in this country.

Mr. Wood

I assure the hon. Member that I would not have given consent to a dual-fired station on the Medway if I did not feel that it was going to be for the benefit of consumers of electricity.