fiddlers ferry coal power station

Fiddler’s Ferry power station closes leaving just four operating coal plants in the UK

Image credit: Dreamstime

One of the UK’s last remaining coal-fired power stations has closed after nearly 50 years of operation as the country slowly moves away from burning the fossil fuel.

Fiddler’s Ferry Power Station in Warrington, Cheshire shut up shop for the last time yesterday, nine months after the closure was announced by energy company SSE.

It first opened in 1971, becoming fully operational in 1973 and had a generating capacity of 1,989 megawatts (MW), enough to power approximately two million homes. This was lowered to 1,510MW last year after one of its units was closed.

Its closure will not have too major an impact on jobs in the area; it employed just 213 people in 2016, which was then reduced to 160 the following the year.

The plant was shut down as part of SSE’s plans to reach net zero carbon emissions in the future and comes five years ahead of the UK Government’s target to end coal-fired electricity generation altogether.

In September, Government figures showed that just 0.6 per cent of the UK’s power was generated from coal, most electricity now comes from natural gas, renewable and nuclear sources.

The closure of Fiddler’s Ferry leaves just four remaining coal-fired power stations still in operation in the UK.

This includes Drax power plant which has been slowly transitioning to biomass generators over the last decade and plans to end coal use next year.

Stephen Wheeler, managing director of SSE Thermal, said: “The closure of Fiddler’s Ferry Power Station is a landmark moment for SSE, and the wider energy industry, as we transition to a net-zero emissions future.

“It’s made a huge contribution to the local area, but it’s the right thing to do as the UK continues to move to cleaner ways of producing energy and take action on climate change.

“SSE is now the UK’s leading generator of renewable energy and we have committed to trebling our output by 2030.

“We will back up this renewable generation with super-efficient gas-fired plants, which we are also looking to decarbonise through emerging carbon capture and hydrogen technology”.

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