Scottish power plant closure ‘a body blow to self-sufficiency hopes’

The early closure of Scotland’s last coal power plant is “a body blow” to the country’s hopes of being self-sufficient. That’s according to Prospect, the union representing engineering and technical staff […]

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The early closure of Scotland’s last coal power plant is “a body blow” to the country’s hopes of being self-sufficient.

That’s according to Prospect, the union representing engineering and technical staff at the Longannet Power Station.

The decision to close the plant by ScottishPower on the 31st of March next year follows National Grid’s decision not to award it a contract for grid balancing services.

Prospect Negotiator Richard Hardy said: “The news is a body blow not just to Prospect members at the plant and the economy of West Fife and the Forth Valley but also to Scotland’s hopes of remaining self-sufficient in energy generation.

“It is extremely disappointing despite the efforts of ScottishPower and the Scottish Government, it has not been possible to put in place ways of keeping Longannet open until its original planned closure date of 2020.”

He added National Grid has forecast “very tight margins for power supply this winter” so removing a station which generates enough electricity for two million homes “is senseless”.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing added: “Today’s decision is ultimately an unfortunate and direct result of the UK’s discriminatory transmission charging system that penalises Scottish electricity generators in comparison to those in the south of England.

“In Longannet’s case the extra charges amount to £40 million per year.”

Mr Ewing said the Scottish Government will establish a taskforce and will meet next week to support the workers, businesses and communities impacted by the closure of Longannet Power Station.

However WWF Scotland Director Lang Banks said it is “an historic but important step in Scotland’s energy transition”.

He added: “While Longannet has served the nation for many years, it is Scotland’s single biggest source of climate emissions and a combination of its age, air pollution rules, carbon pricing and transmission charging have made closure inevitable.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously asked for reassurance from the UK Government that the power station wouldn’t be closed early when the issue arose.