SSE plans to shut down all remaining operational units its Fiddler’s Ferry Coal-Fired Power Station in Warrington, Cheshire, in northwest England. The company said in March this year that it would close one of those units, but now, after a comprehensive review, it proposes to close the whole coal-fired site by March 31, 2020.
“As national and international policies focus on promoting lower-carbon forms of electricity generation in a bid to tackle climate change, the economics of coal-fired stations have become increasingly challenged. The UK has committed to ending unabated coal-fired electricity generation by 2025, and yesterday the Government confirmed it would legislate to achieve a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050,” SSE said in a statement.
In view of the policies and the focus on lower-carbon electricity sources, Fiddler’s Ferry economics have deteriorated to an unsustainable level, SSE said, adding that it would work to avoid compulsory redundancies of the 158 employees at the plant where possible.
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As the UK aims to phase out coal by 2025, coal-fired electricity generation in the country has been at all-time lows in recent months. In the first week of May, the UK went coal-free for a full week since the 1880s, as its electricity generation used 0% coal-fired power. Natural gas delivered 46 percent of Britain’s electricity in that week, followed by nuclear and wind power, according to data from the National Grid ESO.
Then later in May, Britain had a two-week coal-free run, beating the record from earlier that month.
While the share of coal in electricity generation continues to shrink, the share of renewables continues to grow, according to UK government figures. In Q4 2018, the share of renewables rose to 37.1 percent, up by 7.0 percentage points from Q4 2017, thanks to higher capacity. On the other hand, the share of generation from fossil fuel sources fell, with coal’s share of generation at 5.7 percent, down by 3.4 percentage points from Q4 2017.