cottam power plant

Cottam power station to close as coal-fired plants are phased out

Image credit: edf

EDF Energy has decided to end generation at its Cottam coal-fired power station in North Nottinghamshire later this year as part of the drive to decarbonise the electricity grid, in addition to “challenging market conditions”.

The 2,000MW plant, which has been generating electricity for nearly 50 years, will be shut down on 30 September 2019, as it will not be “economically viable” beyond this point.

A December 2018 study found that two-fifths of the world’s coal power stations are already running at a loss due to high fuel costs.

Following the closure of Eggborough power station in September 2018, there were just six dedicated coal-fired plants left in the UK including Cottam.

Coal has been making up a shrinking share of electricity generation in the UK, ahead of the Government’s deadline to phase it out by October 2025.

The Prospect union has been critical of the decision saying that the closure was “premature”, describing it as a “huge blow” to workers and the local economy.

Cottam plant manager Andy Powell said: “When the power station was built it was designed to operate for 30 years. It’s a credit to our people, the engineering and EDF Energy’s investment that it has operated for more than 50 years.

“There has been an aspiration to move away from coal for a long time now and we have prepared thoroughly for the closure.

“We have a highly skilled and experienced workforce and we’re determined to support our people throughout this process.

“We are conscious of the need to support a just transition to a low-carbon energy system. Our ambition is to close the station safely and responsibly by managing people and the environment properly and continuing to be a good neighbour.”

EDF also runs the nearby West Burton A coal power stations in North Nottinghamshire and said it has capacity agreements in place for three of the four units until the end of September 2021. It will review the future of that station beyond that date.

Prospect said 300 jobs will be lost as a result of the closure.

Mike MacDonald, the union’s negotiations officer, said: “The premature closure of Cottam power station will be a huge blow to workers and to the economies of Worksop and Retford.

“We had been led to believe the power station would be wound down by 2025, which would have given plenty of time to mitigate the £60m which will be lost from the local economy as a result.

“That lead time is now gone and we need reassurances from the company and from the Government that they will do all they can to minimise the impact of this closure.

“Prospect has been working hard with employers, including EDF, to secure a just transition to low-carbon generation ever since the Government indicated that it would wind down coal-fired generation by 2025.”

In October 2018, the Business Department said the UK was on track to get less than 5 per cent of its electricity from coal for the first time since the Industrial Revolution and to take polluting coal power off the grid ahead of the 2025 deadline.

On the international stage, the UK and Canada have launched a coalition to encourage countries and states to move past coal power, called Powering Past Coal.

Germany recently announced it will close all of its coal-fired plants and shift towards a reliance on renewable energy within the next two decades.

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