Cockenzie Power Station in East Lothian, Scotland, shut down its four turbines for the very last time Friday March 15th, as the 45 year old coal-fired power station generated its final contribution of electricity for Britain’s national grid.
At approximately 8:30 am local time, ScottishPower engineers ceased generation at Cockenzie, as it used the last of its permitted running hours. Each of the station’s two stacks were granted 20,000 hours of operation when it was opted out of the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD) in 2008.
The closure is part of a pre-agreed decommissioning program with National Grid and the station is closing on time and as forecasted.
In 2011 ScottishPower received planning permission from The Scottish Government for a 1,000MW gas-fired Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power station to be located on the existing site at Cockenzie. The company is continuing to evaluate options for the development of the site, and has recently called for clarity on a capacity mechanism for thermal generation as part of the Energy Bill.
Neil Clitheroe, ScottishPower’s CEO of Energy Retail and Generation, said: “Cockenzie is one of a number of core power stations in Britain that are due to cease operations this year, and 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. 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.”
Originally operational in the summer of 1967, Cockenzie was officially opened on May 24, 1968 and generated more than 150 Terawatt Hours (TWh) of electricity in its lifetime. In total, it is estimated that more than 10,000 people have been employed at Cockenzie, during construction and operation, with many thousands of other jobs supported in the wider supply chain and local area.
When Cockenzie opened, it was the largest power station in Scotland and Britain was still 2 years away from natural gas being used in electricity generation. Coal accounted for approximately 72% of the fuel input used for electricity generation in Britain, compared to approximately 34% in 2011.