Sad day: Power finally goes off at Ferrybridge C

THE Ferrybridge C coal-fired power station finally closes today after 50 years in service.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 31st March 2016, 10:27 am
Updated Thursday, 31st March 2016, 10:31 am
PIC: James Hardisty
PIC: James Hardisty

The fate of the plant, near Knottingley, was sealed by owners SSE last May 2015.

It stopped producing electricity last week, a victim of the move to a cleaner energy mix which has made it unprofitable.

Decommissioning work will now begin and is expected to take about 12 months.

The closure of the power station, which has been a major employer for decades, will have devastating financial and social impact on the close-knit community of Ferrybridge.

At its peak in the 1970s more than 800 people worked there, and around 400 were still employed until recently.

A second multifuel energy plant at Ferrybridge, which was given the final go ahead by the government last year, will employ only around 35 once completed.

The site began generating electricity on 27 February, 1966. But Ferrybridge C was predicted to lose £100 million over the next five years had it remained open.

Ferrybridge is one of a series of coal-fired plants closing, but experts played down the chances of the lights going out this winter as a result.

However, some have warned the Government does not have a coherent strategy to shift the UK away from coal to a low-carbon energy system.

Michael Grubb, professor of energy and climate change policy at University College London, said: “The system has the greatest risk of supply stress this winter.

“I don’t think the lights will go out for any domestic consumers, but there are other things that may have to be done.”

Greenpeace UK chief scientist Dr Doug Parr said: “The global coal industry has fallen into an irreversible spiral of decline, and our political leaders’ job is to manage this decline as best as they can.

“The UK Government has taken the right approach by announcing a coal phase-out, but they forgot about the other half of the job.

“What Britain badly needs are clear, robust policies to drive more investment in clean energy and power-saving technologies.”

Eggborough power station in East Yorkshire was also set to close, but secured a contract with National Grid to provide extra capacity during this winter from two of its four units.