Scotland switched off last coal-fired power plant

Scotland switched off last coal-fired power plant

After 115 years of using coal for energy production, Scotland switched off its last power station that uses coal as fuel. This could mark the shift of Scotland towards generating 100% of power from renewable energies.

Longannet Power Station, situated north of Edinburgh had once been the largest coal plant in Europe and been in operation for 46 years. Besides reducing Scotland’s CO2 emissions, the plant was also closed due to rising maintenance, transmission charges and carbon taxes. Longannet Power Station had a capacity of 2.4 GW and released – according to The Guardian (link is external) – 9.5 million tons of CO2 in 2013, making it responsible for nearly a fifth of Scotland’s total climate emissions. In 2014, it was named as one of the top 30 polluting power plants in the EU.

Coal has long been the dominant force in Scotland’s electricity generation fleet, but the closure of Longannet signals the end of an era. For the first time in more than a century no power produced in Scotland will come from burning coal,” said Hugh Finlay, Generation Director at Scottish Power, the operator of Longannet.

So far, it has not been decided what will happen to the site – one proposal even suggested a center for renewable energies. This might not be that unlikely. Today the power supplier Scottish Power has already 30 operational wind farm sites with a total capacity of 1,600MW in operation and six new onshore wind farms, which are still under development. The firm is owned by Spain’s Iberdrola and (without any more coal plants) generates electricity using gas and wind energy.

The Scottish Government wants to generate 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Additionally, the Scottish energy strategy refuses to consider new nuclear energy, putting it at odds with the wider UK policy mix, since the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced that it wants to expand nuclear energy and support fracking for gas production.


Source: Sun & Wind Energy Magazine

Date: April 2016

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Tags assigned to this article:
coalenergy policyfossil fuelsrenewables

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