Two large coal fired power stations located in the United Kingdom have both shut down on the same day as the transition to more renewable energy sources continues.
One of the plants had a 2000 megawatt capacity during its peak and was generating electricity for an estimated 2 million households. The shutdown of the power station, known as Fiddler’s Ferry Power Station, was located in Cheshire, and was shut down on the same day as another large station in Wales. The Aberthaw Power Station had a capacity of 1,560 megawatts when working at its peak.
Statistics which were announce by the government of the UK at the end of March showed that the electricity that is being generated from coal fired power plants decreased by almost 60 per cent in 2019 when compared with the yeah beforehand. This shows a clear and significant move from the government in phasing out the use of coal fired power plants.
The figures show that the 6.9 terawatt hours of energy that was produced from coal fired power plants was a record low in 2019. The trends in the reduced use of coal fired power plants show that using coal to generate electricity is no longer as economically favourable than the alternative sources of power, especially natural gas.
Looking at the bigger picture, the international Energy Agency announced in last December that natural gas is now much more superior and removed the competitiveness from coal generation in the European Union.
The UK has plans to completely phase out the use of coal fired electricity generation by 2025 and the government has recently stated it will be consulting plans to bring the deadline closer to the start of October in 2024. Data from the government shows that the reliance for coal in the UK has dropped from 70 per cent in 1990 to just 3 per cent today.
Fiddlers Ferry first started its full operations back in 1973 and was the last remaining coal fired power station that SSE had in operation. SSE closed their first site just over a year ago in March of 2019.
In November of 2019 SSE confirmed that all their remaining coal fired sites would be shutting down. They noted that the financial performance of the coal facilities were deteriorating to unsustainable levels which lead to estimated losses of about £40 million in the last financial year for the company.
The thermal managing director of SSE, Stephen Wheeler, issued a statement last Tuesday and described the shutdown of the final SSE site as a landmark moment for the business.
He went on to state how the power plant had made a massive contribution to its local area and surroundings but as times are changing it is the right thing to do to ensure the UK carries on its transition into producing cleaner energy and reducing the effects of climate change.
The closure of the plant in Cheshire follows the announcement from Drax in February that they are to close the UKs largest coal fired power plant in March of 2021.
The shift away from coal fired power plants is not unique to just Britain. In January, the federal government in Germany proposed plans to stop the mining of brown coal as a way forward to help stop the use of coal fired power stations.
The plans include the government providing 40 billion euros to the four federal states in Germany that will be effected by the change and that operators of the plans will be given 4.35 billion euros over the next 15 years to make up for the closure of the facilities.