Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
Coal generating station in UK
Credit: SSE Thermal https://sse.com/whatwedo/sse-thermal/

Coal

Last Coal-Fired Generating Plants Closing In UK & New York

Three large coal generating stations — 2 in the UK and 1 in the US — are closing soon as coal power continues to shrink around the world.

The end of burning coal to generate electricity is continuing. In the UK, two large coal-fired facilities have been closed recently — Fiddler’s Ferry in Cheshire and Aberthaw in Wales. Fiddler’s Ferry was first commissioned in 1973 and had a peak capacity of 2,000 megawatts. Aberthaw was rated at 1,560 megawatts.

Coal generating station in UK

Image credit: SSE Thermal

CNBC reports the UK government said last week that electricity from coal declined 60% in 2019. In all, coal provided 6.9 terawatts of power to the UK last year, a record low in modern history. In 1990, 70% of the country’s electricity came from burning coal. Last year it was 3%.

SSE Thermal is the owner of the Fiddler’s Ferry facility. Last November, it said the facility’s financial performance had “deteriorated to unsustainable levels, with losses of around £40 million in SSE’s last financial year.” On Tuesday, Stephen Wheeler, SSE Thermal’s managing director, said the closure is a “landmark moment” for the company. “It’s made a huge contribution to the local area, but it’s the right thing to do as the U.K. continues to move to cleaner ways of producing energy and take action on climate change,” he said.

The UK’s largest remaining coal station, the Drax Power Station, is scheduled to cease operations in March of next year as the country continues its drive to lower emissions from the power generating sector dramatically by 2024. In December the International Energy Agency said that cheap natural gas had “shattered coal’s competitiveness in the European Union in 2019.”

Last Coal Plant In New York Closes

In the next few weeks, the Somerset Operating Company, the last coal-fired generating plant in New York, is scheduled to close as part of governor Andrew Cuomo’s push to make his state fossil fuel free by 2040 — one of the most ambitious such programs in the United States. Located near Buffalo, the plant has served as the center of local life for decades.

According to The New York Times, Beowulf Energy, which owns the plant, says it wants to convert it into a data hub and server farm, but many locals worry they will not be qualified for jobs in the tech area after a lifetime as attendants at the coal generating station.

Natural Gas To The Rescue?

Just like the UK, the US has seen an abundance of low cost natural gas in recent years, which burns cleaner than coal and which has replaced coal in many markets. But with the current coronavirus and the collapse of energy markets driving the cost of fuels lower than the cost of extracting them, will the supply be there when needed, especially next winter?

Many assumptions about modern life have been shattered by the virus pandemic in just a few weeks time. One of the advantages of renewable energy is an absence of the constant volatility in fuel cost which makes planning for large thermal generating facilities fraught with unknown and unknowable risks. That price stability could be a powerful incentive for renewable energy developers going forward.

 
 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

New Podcast: Cruise Talks Autonomous Driving Tech, Regulations, & Auto Design

New Podcast: Battery Mineral Mining Policies & Regional Trends

Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.

Comments

#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

Advertisement

Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Cars

OVO Energy, an electricity and gas supplier in the UK, has added 40 Kia e-Niros to its fleet — for its “Field Force” team....

Cars

The Audi e-tron is still a small fry in the United States (as is Audi in general), but it is a top seller in...

Clean Transport

Originally published on the NRDC Expert Blog. By Kathy Harris New York achieving its climate goals may rest in the hands of the state’s Climate...

Cars

Following a trend, or at least what Vauxhall has also done, Hyundai lowered the price of its KONA EV in order to keep it...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.