Coal consigned to history in Wales

| 6th August 2019
Aberthaw coal-fired power station is to close

Aberthaw coal-fired power station is to close

https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2744250
Wales’ last coal-fired power station will close next year, its owner RWE has announced.

As these closures continue, the fair and right response is massive investment to help our energy system and those who work in it switch from dirty fuels to clean renewables.

Campaigners are celebrating the closure of Aberthaw power station, which will leave only three coal-fired generators in operation in Great Britain.

Energy company RWE Generation said the decision was due to “challenging market conditions” for coal in the UK. The 1,560MW power station has been in operation since 1971 and employs 170 people.

Roger Miesen, chief executive of RWE Generation, said: “This is a difficult time for everyone at Aberthaw Power Station. However, market conditions made this decision necessary”.  

Cutting emissions

The company says that the closure will contribute to the company’s goal to reduce its CO2 emissions from power generation, which it has cut by 60 million tonnes a year since 2012, the equivalent of taking 30 million cars off the road.

Haf Elgar, director of Friends of the Earth Cymru welcomed the news of the closure. “The writing’s on the wall for the coal industry – we cannot keep burning fossil fuels in a climate emergency and we must stop now.

“Combined with the Welsh Government’s announcement at the end of last year that there should be no new coal mining in Wales, finally we will be able to say that coal is history.” 

Efforts should now  on cutting emissions to net zero, and finding solutions to climate change that support communities in Wales and create green jobs, she added.

Just transition

The government is aiming to end the coal-fired power generation by 2025. In February, EDF Energy announced it was to close the Cottam coal-fired power station in Nottinghamshire at the end of September, and in June, SSE announced that it would terminate generation at its Fiddler’s Ferry site in Cheshire in March 2020.

This will leave only three coal-fired power stations in the rest of Great Britain – Drax in Yorkshire, and West Burton and Ratcliffe on Sour in Nottinghamshire.

Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK said: “As these closures continue, the fair and right response is massive investment to help our energy system and those who work in it switch from dirty fuels to clean renewables.

"It’s time for a properly funded transition so people and communities aren’t left high and dry.”

This Author

Catherine Early is a freelance environmental journalist and chief reporter for The Ecologist. She can be found tweeting at @Cat_Early76.

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