‘End of an era’ as Cockenzie coal plant closes

Scottish coal plant Cockenzie shut down its turbines for the last time today as its operator ScottishPower proclaimed the “end of an era”. The Station Manager Bill Kelly switched off […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Scottish coal plant Cockenzie shut down its turbines for the last time today as its operator ScottishPower proclaimed the “end of an era”. The Station Manager Bill Kelly switched off unit 2 at Cockenzie plant this morning (pictured).

When the 45 year old coal-fired power station opened in 1967, it was the largest power station in Scotland. On average the plant in East Lothian powered around 1 million homes every year during its lifetime, generating more than 150 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity.

Neil Clitheroe, ScottishPower’s CEO of Energy Retail and Generation said: “It is the end of an era for ScottishPower and for the people at Cockenzie Power Station, who I would like to thank for all of their hard work and commitment over the last 45 years.”

The plant is one of several around the UK which are due to close this year under EU emissions regulations.

Mr Clitheroe sounded a note of caution to the Government over how we replace them: “It is vitally important that we receive clarity from the Energy Bill to allow companies like ours to be confident in making investment decisions for a new generation of replacement gas power stations.”

In 2011 ScottishPower received planning permission from the Scottish Government for a 1000MW gas-fired Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power station to be built on the Cockenzie site.

The energy boss added: “We have planning consent for a new gas-fired station here in Cockenzie, but like many other companies, we are unable to commit to new investment in gas generation until we fully understand how the market will work in the future.”