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UK coal-fired power station to close five years early

20 May 2015

The Ferrybridge power station in Yorkshire will close by March 2016, UK energy utility SSE announced on May 20. The utility said the coal-fired plant was no longer economical, and that it would redeploy the 176 staff at the plant where possible. SSE said rising costs, the impact of environmental legislation and a forecast £100m loss over the next five years made the Ferrybridge site "unsustainable".

Ferrybridge C - Image: Peter R Foster IDMA /
Ferrybridge C - Image: Peter R Foster IDMA /

The utility said it was considering reopening the gas-fired power station at Keadby, near Scunthorpe, by the end of October, to replace any lost generating capacity. Keadby was mothballed in March 2014 and its reopening is based on more favourable forecasts for gas fired plants, SSE said.

Paul Smith, SSE managing director of generation, said it had been a "very difficult decision" to close the plant and the firm had kept the site "running for as long as we possibly could".

He said: "Our team at Ferrybridge is highly skilled, dedicated, with a strong track record of performance and we're keen to ensure, where possible, staff are redeployed across other parts of the SSE group, for example at the nearby Keadby power station, or across the wider business."

Ferrybridge, often referred to as 'Ferrybridge C', is the third power station on the site and one of 14 working coal-fired power stations in the UK. Currently 31% of the UK's electricity comes from coal-burning power stations.

Two of the four units at the site were fitted with flue-gas desulphurisation in 2009. In 2013, SSE indicated that the power station would not comply with the EU Industrial Emissions Directive, requiring the plant's closure by 2023 or earlier.

SSE said it was committed to the Ferrybridge site, with a £300m 68 MW multi-fuel plant next to the power station due to open before the end of the year which is expected to create 46 jobs. The company has also submitted plans to build another multi-fuel station at the site.

SSE lost 500,000 customers in the 12 months to the end of March, which it blamed on competition from smaller providers, although it increased profits by 40% in the financial year.

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