The energy company said last week that it is deferring an investment decision on the scheme for up to three years because of the global recession. This has pushed back the need for a new plant in the UK to around 2016 because of the reduction in demand for electricity, the company explained.
A spokesman confirmed that it is not withdrawing its application, which is being examined by ministers. In addition, the scheme remains in the running to be a demonstration site for carbon capture and storage (CCS).
The DECC would not comment on when it would make a decision on E.ON's application. However, it maintained that nothing has changed with its CCS competition. "E.ON has not withdrawn its application and has made it clear that it remains committed to the development of clean coal technologies," a spokeswoman said.
However, environmental campaigners described the deferral as a victory. Climate activist Emma Jackson said: "E.ON recognises that the days of building coal-fired power stations have come to an end."
Protect Kent chairman Richard Knox-Johnston added: "This decision shows that even without the as yet unknown additional costs of carbon capture, new coal is uneconomic and damaging to the environment."