Rugeley B power station calls it quits

Posted: February 8, 2016 by Andrew in Energy, News

Image credit: Express & Star

The owners of Rugeley B announced today that they are to close the power station this summer.

Another 1000MW needs to be found from somewhere else. It’s making for a long list: Fiddler’s Ferry (reported here on February 4th) Longannet, Ferrybridge and Eggborough. 150 jobs are also at risk.

ENGIE Press release

ENGIE is today announcing that its 1,000 MW Rugeley Power Station in Staffordshire is expected to cease market operations in early summer 2016 due to the deterioration in market conditions for UK coal-fired power generation.
This closure will potentially lead to the loss of 150 jobs, subject to the outcome of an employee consultation exercise, and any further discussions with government bodies. During the consultation period, ENGIE will seek to identify redeployment opportunities elsewhere across the business, in line with the Group’s ongoing commitment to employees. A number of ongoing roles are expected to be required to support decommissioning and redevelopment of the site.
Unfortunately market conditions for UK coal plant have deteriorated rapidly in recent years, as a result of a continued fall in power prices on the back of commodity market decline, and increases in carbon costs. Under such conditions, there is no prospect of the power station recovering its future operating costs.
ENGIE remains one of the UK’s largest independent power producers and will continue to invest in its energy and services capabilities as a long-term committed partner for the UK.
David Alcock, CEO of ENGIE’s Energy Infrastructure division in the UK, said: “It is with deep regret that we have had to make this decision at Rugeley. Our priority now is to support the employees and help them through this period. We implemented a number of changes at Rugeley a year ago in order to help maintain operations at the site but a combination of falling prices and the impact of various market changes has now made this unviable.
“We will of course keep all options for the power station under review, and will maintain dialogue with all stakeholders as we proceed with the employee consultation process. I would personally like to thank everyone at Rugeley for their contribution to our business and for their loyal service to the Power Station.”
Rugeley Power Station is jointly owned by ENGIE (75%) and Mitsui & Co. Ltd. (25%). It can provide enough electricity to power 1 million homes and is one of the most flexible and efficient coal-fired stations in the UK.
The Station is also known as Rugeley “B” and has been in operation since 1970. Rugeley “A” station, built on the same site back in the 1950s, was decommissioned in 1996.

Express & Star news article

Still waiting for a response from DECC.



  1. Andrew says:

    Interesting Twitter conversation on the closure.

  2. tallbloke says:

    The reckless tinkering with the ‘Carbon price floor’ and ‘Green energy’ levies will leave the UK in parlous state for energy generation.

  3. michael hart says:

    Nothing new, I guess, to regular readers here.

    The climate change act 2008, coupled with subsidies for intermittent windpower/solar makes it harder for traditional generators to keep their heads above water. More to come.

    The solution will later be when the government realises it has to subsidise traditional generators to come back to the market. They will have achieved less than nothing in the intervening years. And may also have Europe on their back telling them what solutions are not acceptable.

    Go figure. The European Commission is probably glad that the referendum will happen before 2018.

  4. Stephen Richards says:

    Are carbon brief a green organisation and partly responsible for the closures.??

  5. oldbrew says:

    The domino effect has kicked in.

  6. oldbrew says:

    Drax power station boss says coal may hang on in the UK for a while despite world’s highest carbon tax.

  7. JohnR says:

    It is more or less accepted now that “demand side regulation” will render the centralised grid generation by large producers unnecessary. Or at least not wanted..
    And also, that the ultimate DSR will be used occasionally (power cuts). Fortunately, or unfortunately, for the grid, very large users are getting rarer now… the large amount of small users will have to take the strain!!

  8. Bruckner8 says:

    We need all similar plants to close immediately so that we can cut to the chase right quick. Let the powers that be try to stay elected when energy costs skyrocket. Heck, let’s see if energy exists 24/7 AT ANY PRICE!

  9. ivan says:

    So that is why there is the big push to have everyone using a ‘smart meter’ that will allow consumer side management by rolling blackouts.

  10. Fanakapan says:

    Whilst it becomes ever more obvious that ‘The Cartel’ will soon become the recipients of public largesse, a perusal of the above link will highlight a consequence of Thatchers ‘Free Market’ that many will have not seen coming.

    Companies such as Engie/Suez are of such a size that they have, given any sign of weakness, the power to command governments.

    On balance, the perceived inefficiencies of public sector ownership pale into insignificance when compared to the costs involved when a pack of Rentier pit bull’s back the government into a corner.

    Obviously the Carbon Tax malarkey has played a part in what is going on, but at this stage the Energy Behemoths have sensed blood in the water, and even if the tax were axed tomorrow, I doubt it would change the coming evolution in the publicly funded private company cycle.

    Its almost bizzare to think back to the salad days of ‘Privatisation’ when the promise of lower prices and increased efficiency were promoted as the raison d’etre of the whole process. The ultimate result as we know see, is one of crony capitalism and a public being gouged for energy to a greater extent than that which prevails even in Germany, the spiritual home of all things Green 🙂

  11. BoyfromTottenham says:

    Hi from Oz. I fell very sorry for you poor sods. Here in Oz at least the electricity generators/distributors have woken up to how to survive – they are selling ‘solar batteries’ to householders, which help reduce the operators’ losses by reducing the amount of (useless but expensive) rooftop solar power that is fed into the grid. Do the UK rules allow the same thing? If not, I guess you will have no option but to stock up on firewood, LP gas, candles and those nice new LED torches. And maybe pull out Grandma’s old wind-up gramophone for zero-carbon entertainment.

  12. J Martin says:

    @ expat from Tottenham. Clearly all that sunshine you get down under has faded your memory of English skies. Sunshine is something we see on television from other countries, its extremely rare to see it for real in the UK, indeed, I suspect that so called sightings of sunshine are purely mythical. Solar batteries indeed.

  13. oldbrew says:

    Euan Mearns analyses the car-crash-in-waiting that is the UK national power grid.

    ‘In summary, during cold, calm and dark conditions in November to February wind and solar do nothing to mitigate the blackout risk in the UK. In fact, investing in and placing reliance upon these renewable technologies has created the blackout risk.

  14. oldbrew says:

    Power chief points out the obvious to dim-witted UK politicians.

    ‘Centrica’s top management have used the occasion of their annual results announcement to call on the British government to re-draw the country’s capacity market scheme.’

    ‘More capacity needed to be secured further in advance, especially as the scheme assumed Britain’s wind farms would produce 15pc of their capacity. “That’s fine if the wind is blowing. If the wind’s not blowing, it’s not 15pc, it’s zero”