UK’s Ferrybridge coal plant closes after 50 years 

Posted: March 31, 2016 by oldbrew in Energy
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Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station  [image credit: Lynne Kirton / Wikipedia]

Ferrybridge ‘C’ Power Station
[image credit: Lynne Kirton / Wikipedia]

What exactly is replacing this generating giant? Only a small-scale waste wood burning operation it seems.

One of the UK’s landmark coal-fired power plants will close today after half a century of service. Ferrybridge C in Yorkshire was taken offline last week and will officially shut this afternoon, reports PEI.

Construction of the plant began in 1961 and it started generating electricity on February 27 1966. It became a record-breaking example of coal-fired power.

Its Unit 1 was the world’s first 500 MW ‘single line’ turbine generator and in 1973, Unit 2 set a world record by running non-stop for 5488 hours, generating 2999 GWh at an average thermal efficiency of 34.45 per cent.

It was the first power station in Europe to have four coal-fired 500 MW units capable of meeting the needs of two million people. The plant also weathered political storms – during the miners’ strike in 1985 Ferrybridge’s coal stocks dwindled to less than three weeks’ supply.

In 1990 the plant became owned by the newly-privatized PowerGen plc and in 2004 ownership transferred to Scottish and Southern Energy, now known simply as SSE. In 2015 a new £300m multifuel site called Ferrybridge Multifuel was opened next to Ferrybridge C. The new plant is capable of generating around 68 MW of electricity from various sources of municipal or commercial waste and waste wood. A second multifuel station is planned for the site, with construction expected later this year.

The rapidly-changing energy landscape of recent years meant that in May last year SSE announced the decision to close Ferrybridge C. Paul Smith, SSE’s managing director for generation, said today that “it was with a heavy heart that we announced our plans to close Ferrybridge last year. But today is all about recognising and thanking those who have played their part over the years in Ferrybridge’s wonderful history and immense contribution to powering the nation.”

The UK government has announced that all Britain’s coal-fired stations will close by 2025.

Source: UK’s Ferrybridge coal plant closes after 50 years – Power Engineering International

  1. J Martin says:

    What’s the betting that UK co2 output is no lower in 2025 than it is today. But if it is lower, then the reduction in the planet’s temperature might be better measured in millionths of a degree.

  2. Seems like Liddel PS in NSW is a copy first 500MW unit in 1971 and fourth in 1973. There are no plans to shut it down. The main problem with Liddel is the undersized and UK built vertical coal mills. The Australian coal is harder. The PS now operates as a swing supplier with some fixed supplying an Aluminium smelter, It could easily be upgraded by replacing half the coal mills. and some better control equipment to reduce the manning by 50%. I would imagine the coal in UK is expensive and unreliable (unless imported). Unions are a problem with manning, operation.and cost. To be competitive there is no need to go to the latest super-critical boiler and turbines. The answer is automation, smoother operation and getting rid of manual control by incompetent union operators. A central control room for 4 units needs only 3 people in the control room and only about 3 maintenance types outside to check if everything is working as it should (can have vibration monitors, TV camera, load and track indicators on conveyor belts etc in the control room)

  3. husq says:

    >What’s the betting that UK co2 output is no lower in 2025 than it is today. <

    It's supposedly gone down.

  4. Dave Ward says:

    “And will officially shut this afternoon

    Which I guess rules this out as an April Fools joke?

  5. oldbrew says:

    Dave W: it’s UK so-called energy policy that is the joke, unfortunately 😦

  6. J Martin says:

    There is now in the UK a shortage of some building materials as the ash from coal powered stations was used as an ingredient. Some builders merchants are now awaiting imports from Poland to fulfill orders instead.

  7. J Martin says:

    The decline in co2 emmisions is misleading as it just refers to electricity production and doesn’t include vehicle fuels or central heating.

    Another factor is they improperly include the conversion of drax to wood pellets, which is false accounting since any replacement tress have yet to be planted or put on any growth to take up co2.

    Further reductions may occur with further coal closures, but they will reach the limit on solar and wind that destabilises the grid before too long. So they must build more gas generation, no sign if that currently. Long term there is no option other than nuclear generation.

    In addition the UK population is increasing at a substantial rate, so unless they build lots of nuclear to allow people to switch central heating to electricity and also make a move to hydrogen for vehicles then their room for significant reductions is surely limited.

  8. Andy says:

    Still no reply from Yvette Cooper …. (not much of a surprise there then)