Britain will have only one power station still burning coal by the end of next year under plans by EDF to close its West Burton A plant. The French energy giant is expected to confirm this week that it will shut the Nottinghamshire power station by September 2022 at the latest after more than half a century of operations. Unions have been informed before a formal announcement to the plant’s 170 staff whose jobs will now be at risk. The decision will leave Uniper’s Ratcliffe-on-Soar plant, also in Nottinghamshire, as the only power station still burning the polluting fuel before a government deadline to phase out unabated coal usage by October 2024. The phasing out of coal power has been one of Britain’s success stories in decarbonisation that ministers are keen to trumpet as they push for global commitments at this year’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow to cease building coal plants. Coal was Britain’s biggest source of electricity generation as recently as 2013 but had fallen to less than 2 per cent of supplies by last year. Most old plants have shut as they were rendered uneconomic by the carbon tax and subsidised wind and solar plants. Only three coal plants remain in Britain: the two in Nottinghamshire plus two units of the Drax power station near Selby in North Yorkshire. The remaining coal plants have been running increasingly infrequently. Drax ceased commercial coal-fired generation this month but will not shut the coal units for good until September next year as it has contracts to keep them open through the government’s capacity market scheme. This pays plants to guarantee that they will be available if needed in a supply crunch. EDF has capacity market contracts to keep West Burton A open until September this year and this month missed out on contracts for 2021-22.
Times 22nd March 2021 read more »