One of the UK’s last coal-fired power stations has switched off its giant generating plant not far from Lincolnshire for the final time after over 50 years.
Cottam coal-fired power station was commissioned in 1968 by the Central Electricity Generating Board. It was originally planned to operate for 30 years.
Since then the station has produced nearly 500 terawatt hours of electricity, which would be enough to single-handedly power the UK for around 18 months.
At its peak there would be 750 people employed. There are currently 140 people employed on site and the last train was welcomed to Cottam on June 19, 2019.
The station’s staff have been preparing for the eventual closure of the site for almost two years. The management team worked closely with the site’s unions to ensure minimum disruption for staff.
A consultation process was started with Trade Union partners and employee representatives as the company proposed to cease generation on September 30, 2019, after which time it was said it would not be economically viable.
The Cottam team set up their own People Hub to work with staff to explore new opportunities within EDF Energy.
A number have joined the team building and eventually operating the country’s first new nuclear power station in a generation at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
Others have stayed closer to home and moved across to West Burton A coal station, which currently has capacity market contracts to operate until September 2021. Others moved to the West Burton B Combined Cycle Gas Turbine Station, which started operating in 2013. All the apprentices have also secured roles at EDF Energy sites.
According to the BBC, EDF said West Burton Power Station had contracts in place to run for at least another two years.
Cottam’s plant manager Andy Powell said: “It is a sad day, but I am immensely proud to have been part of the Cottam family since I started as an apprentice here and now as plant manager.
“This place has been a key part of the landscape for the past 50 years supporting the economy and actually has gone far beyond its original projected operational life, and as we have seen the final days of power production the plant has been running better than ever.
“And that is testament to the professionalism of the team here who have maintained and operated this site with skill and care since 1968.”
The closure of Cottam leaves six major coal-fired stations working in the UK: West Burton, Ratcliffe, both in Nottinghamshire, Drax, in North Yorkshire, Fiddlers Ferry in Cheshire, Aberthaw – in the Vale of Glamorgan – and Kilroot in County Antrim.
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