Longannet was only intended to run for 25 years, but its operations were significantly extended

Longannet closure: last coal power station in Scotland shuts down

Longannet power station, Scotland’s last remaining coal-fired power station, has shut down after 46 years of operation.

The Fife-based power station was closed by its operators ScottishPower which blamed high carbon taxes and transmission charges for the cessation of operations.

Green campaigners have welcomed the closure, describing it as the "single biggest reduction in Scotland's climate change emissions ever".

In December, the environment charity WWF Scotland said that almost 40 per cent of the country’s energy was generated from wind power for the month prior, enough to power all the domestic homes in Scotland. The high levels of energy generation were attributed to high winds and tumultuous weather conditions throughout November.

Longannet was the largest power station in Europe when it went online, capable of producing 2,400MW of electricity for the national grid and powering over two million homes each year.

Although it was only meant to be operational for 25 years, its lifespan was eventually almost doubled from what was intended and its operators said it remained a key energy provider through to its last winter.

During its lifetime, more than 177 million tonnes of coal was used along with 2.7 million tonnes of heavy fuel oil and 2.4 million cubic metres of natural gas.

Hugh Finlay, generation director at ScottishPower, said: "Coal has long been the dominant force in Scotland's electricity generation fleet but the closure of Longannet signals the end of an era.

"For the first time in more than a century no power produced in Scotland will come from burning coal. The highly-skilled team at Longannet have worked hard in difficult circumstances over the last six months to ensure that the station continued to operate at a high level over the winter.

"Originally designed to run for 25 years, the success of Longannet has been driven by substantial investment over the years and by the dedication of the men and women overseeing the station's operations."

The power station’s 236 staff were due to leave the plant for the final time today, with many moving to work elsewhere for ScottishPower or taking retirement. The company said it is still working to help about five per cent of workers find alternative employment.

Meanwhile, the energy secretary Amber Rudd has refused to accept a £100 wager to guarantee further public subsidies will not be offered to a delayed nuclear power station.

Rudd insisted the multibillion-pound Hinkley Point C project will go ahead although she came under pressure to assure MPs it will not be at any cost and also hit UK taxpayers.

Labour's Rob Marris, MP for Wolverhampton South West, warned that ‘ridiculously large’ subsidies have already been offered by the UK government to the project.

"I bet the minister £100, proceeds to charity of course, that that nuclear power station will not be built without even more public subsidy being offered,” he said.

Rudd replied, saying that she was "not in the habit of taking bets across the chamber".

“I'm very happy to reassure you that I'm completely confident that the Hinkley Point C project will go ahead and it will not be the only new nuclear reactor commissioned under this government," she said.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that the project’s construction would be delayed which prompted calls for the government to draw up a Plan B in case it never gets built.

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