Scotland’s last coal-fired power station to close in March
Scottish Power has announced that its coal-fired Longannet power station will be closing on 31 March 2016 after 46 years of service .
The closure was first announced back in March 2015, reportedly thanks to high carbon taxes and the high cost of connecting to the grid.
Neil Clitheroe, the CEO of retail and generation at ScottishPower, said it was a sad day for the company, but green groups hailed the closure as a ‘historic step’ in Scotland’s energy transition.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “While Longannet has served the nation for many years, it is Scotland’s single biggest source of climate emissions and a combination of its age, air pollution rules, carbon pricing and transmission charging have made closure inevitable.
“The recent Scottish Parliament inquiry into energy security provided ample evidence from the National Grid and other experts that Scotland’s electricity supply is absolutely secure without Longannet. Indeed, Scotland will continue to remain a net annual exporter of power to the rest of Great Britain and an integrated part of the most secure electricity grid in Europe.”
Scottish Power has also dropped plans for a gas-fired power station at Cockenzie in East Lothian, as the country’s transition to renewable energy has gathered momentum.
In 2014, 49.6% of Scottish electricity consumption was generated by renewable sources – an increase from 44.4% in 2013.
Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens’ economy and energy spokesperson said: “The cost of connecting to the grid is certainly a factor in Scottish Power’s decisions but more importantly Longannet was always due to close due to the polluting nature of its production and the advance of clean, renewable energy generation.
“Scotland’s energy agenda must now focus very clearly on energy efficiency and demand reduction, increased storage, a new North Sea transmission grid and low-carbon energy generation with greater community ownership.”
Independent research suggests that Scotland could have a secure fully-renewable electricity system by 2030.
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