Longannet closure marks the end of coal-fired electricity production in Scotland
Longannet Power Station in Fife will shut down at around 12pm today after 46 years of providing coal-based energy for the region. Symbolising the end of an era, the closure marks the end of coal-fired electricity production in Scotland and edges Britain’s closer to its target to close all coal-fired power plants by 2025.
The station was the largest in Europe when it was established in 1970. It has powered more than two million homes every year and generated 2,400MW of electricity for the national grid. More than 177 million tonnes of coal has been used since the station went online, as well as 2.7 million tonnes of heavy fuel oil.
Hugh Finlay, the generation director at ScottishPower, part of the Iberdrola Group, said: "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.
"Originally designed to run for 25 years, the success of Longannet has been driven by substantial investment over the years and by the dedication of the men and women overseeing the station's operations. The highly-skilled team at Longannet have worked hard in difficult circumstances over the last six months to ensure that the station continued to operate at a high level over the winter.”
More 230 workers will lose their jobs but many move on to work elsewhere within the organisation. The closure could also have an indirect impact on another 1,000 jobs.
Environmental groups have praised the closure as a positive move to combat climate change. WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "The closure of Longannet marks an historic and inevitable step in our energy transition as Scotland becomes one of the first nations to end its use of coal for power.
"While the power station has served the nation for many years, the world is moving forward to cleaner, cheaper forms of renewable energy generation."
Construction work is under way for six new onshore windfarms with more than £650 million invested in the project. At least £500 million will also be used to reinforce the electrical network that powers 2.5 million homes in the region.