SSE plans to close its last coal-fired plant

SSE chief Alistair Phillips-Davies cited unsustainable losses. Picture: Contributed
SSE chief Alistair Phillips-Davies cited unsustainable losses. Picture: Contributed
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Scottish energy firm SSE yesterday announced plans to close its last remaining coal-fired power station, putting the jobs of 158 staff at risk.

The Perth-based firm said it is looking at closing the Fiddler’s Ferry site in Warrington, Cheshire, at the end of March after more than four decades of generation.

SSE, led by chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies, said the site was loss-making “and our projections show that it will continue to be so – these losses are unsustainable beyond the end of the current financial year”.

SSE said it would look to redeploy affected staff across other parts of the group where possible.

“SSE will also offer employees voluntary redundancy on enhanced terms and will seek to avoid compulsory redundancies,” it added.

The move by the company is the latest in a long line of closures of coal-fired power stations in the UK as the fossil fuel continues to be phased out of the energy mix.

Over the last winter, coal-fired power only contributed 5 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs and the UK government has said it will be phased out altogether from 2025.

FTSE 100 business SSE also said yesterday that although its Peterhead gas-fired station in Scotland had not won a contract in this week’s capacity market auction to provide back-up power to the grid in 2019/20, it would not affect existing operations at the station.

Peterhead already has a capacity market agreement in place to provide power if needed between 2021 and 2022.