02 Aug Shoveling coal: United Kingdom closes two coal-fired power stations
From April next year, the United Kingdom will be less dependent on coal for energy supply. Energiemaatschappij RWE is closing a coal-fired power plant with a capacity of 1.5 gigawatts. The decision leaves three power stations.
RWE closes the coal-fired power station in Wales because the coal energy generation market has become “challenging,” the company says. The plant has been used since 1971. By deciding to close the plant, about 170 people will end up on the street.
“For nearly fifty years, the plant has played a major role in securing the UK’s energy supply,” said Tom Glover, chief commercial officer of RWE Generation. “With our flexible natural gas and biomass plants, RWE remains an important player in the energy market in the United Kingdom.” The closure ensures that CO2 emissions are reduced step by step; since 2012, according to RWE, 60 million tonnes of CO2 emissions have been reduced.
5.4 gigawatts of coal
With the planned closure of the Aberthaw B coal-fired power station in Wales, 5.4 gigawatts of capacity at the coal-fired power stations remain, says Carbonbrief, the organization that has mapped all coal-fired power stations. At present, five coal-fired power stations are still active. In the past three months it has been announced that two coal-fired power stations will close: one in Scotland and the one in Wales. Together, these power stations have a capacity of 3 gigawatts. In 2018, the coal-fired power stations needed 6.7 million tonnes of coal to meet energy demand.
Decreasing role for coal
The role of coal-fired power stations in British energy supply has fallen sharply in recent years. The first coal-free day was registered in 2017, since the construction of the first power plant in 1882. Last May, the country ran for the first time on an energy supply without coal-fired power plants. The British network operator ESO wants to generate all energy completely CO2-free in 2025. All coal-fired power stations must be closed before that time .
Five more power plants in the Netherlands
The number of coal-fired power stations is also declining in the Netherlands: now there are still five in operation. They must all be closed by 2030, but the Hemweg power plant in Amsterdam and the Amer power plant in Geertruidenberg must close their doors earlier for coal. Energy supplier Vattenfall will close the Hemweg power plant this year; the Amer power plant must stop using coal in 2024.