Following a comprehensive review of its coal-fired power stations, SSE has today taken the difficult decision to close Ferrybridge C Power Station by 31st March 2016.
Costs at the 48-year-old power station have been rising due its age and its forecast to lose £100m over the next five years. This, combined with the impact of environmental legislation and the political consensus that coal has a limited role in the future, make it unsustainable.
Paul Smith, SSE Managing Director of Generation, said: “This was a very difficult decision to take because of the impact on our Ferrybridge employees, their families and the community.
“It’s been known for many years that the UK would have to phase out coal as it moves towards a more sustainable energy mix. We’ve sought to protect jobs and invest in the site to keep it running for as long as we possibly could but ultimately we’ve had to make this regrettable decision today.
“Our team at Ferrybridge is highly skilled, dedicated, with a strong track record of performance and we’re keen to ensure, where possible, that staff are redeployed across other parts of the SSE group, for example at the nearby Keadby power station; or across the wider business.
“We appreciate it is a concerning time for our employees and our priority is to support them over the coming weeks and months and ensure they have a range of options available to them for the future.”
This announcement does not impact on existing operations at SSE’s Fiddler’s Ferry coal-fired station, which currently has a Capacity Market contract and will be entered into the 2015 Capacity Market auction.
SSE will work closely with its 172 Ferrybridge employees to redeploy them to other sites where possible, including at its nearby Keadby Gas Fired Power Station which will be returned to service; provide retraining where possible; offer voluntary release on enhanced terms; and do everything it can to avoid compulsory redundancies.
SSE remains committed to the Ferrybridge site. Its £300m multi-fuel plant next to Ferrybridge Power Station is due to open before the end of 2015. In addition SSE has submitted plans to build a further multi-fuel station of a similar size at the site.
The current Ferrybridge C Power Station has been operational since 1966. Its two units (units 3 and 4) are nearly 50 years old.
Unit 3 is currently undergoing routine servicing and maintenance and it will return to service in August 2015 following successful completion of the planned outage which began in April 2015.
Unit 4 was badly damaged in a serious fire at the site in 2014 and SSE has been pursuing options to reinstate this equipment, but this activity will now stop, although the work to demolish the damaged equipment will continue. Unit 4 will therefore be removed from service with immediate effect.