Ewing fights for future of Longannet

Scotland’s Energy Minister Fergus Ewing says his government will try to stop Longannet power station from closing. Speaking in Holyrood yesterday, Mr Ewing said there was a determination to support […]

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By Sumit Bose

Scotland’s Energy Minister Fergus Ewing says his government will try to stop Longannet power station from closing.

Speaking in Holyrood yesterday, Mr Ewing said there was a determination to support the workers of the power station in Fife, which now faces closure after missing out on National Grid voltage contracts.

He said: “ScottishPower has stated that ‘in all likelihood’ it will be forced to close Longannet prematurely in 2016. The consequences of this would be profound.

“Let me be clear, whilst the decision is one for the company to make, we are determined to continue to explore any options that may avert the premature closure of Longannet.

“We believe the decision taken by National Grid and endorsed by the outgoing UK Government is flawed and fails to take account of serious flaws in the UK electricity supply system.”

More than 270 jobs are directly at risk and many more in the related supply chain could be vulnerable. The coal powered station lost out to SSE’s gas powered station in Peterhead in the grid contracts announced earlier this week. ScottishPower have said that decision was unfair and will now almost certainly mean the plant has to close.

The Scottish government has already held talks with the unions, members of Fife council and are hoping to talk to ScottishPower and other stakeholders.

Mr Ewing concluded: “The Scottish Government-led Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) has contacted ScottishPower to outline the support on offer to affected employees.

“In addition, I will meet with representatives of the STUC and the Longannet unions on Thursday. The Government and all our partners will strain every sinew to secure the best possible outcomes for those affected and mitigate the local and national economic impact if closure cannot be averted.”