Fiddler’s Ferry coal-fired power station to close

Power generation company SSE is proposing to close the remaining operational units at its Fiddler’s Ferry coal-fired power station site in Warrington, Cheshire.

Following a review, the company has begun consultation with employees and trade unions with a view to closing the station by 31 March 2020. Fiddler’s Ferry is SSE’s last remaining coalfired power station. The operational units have a combined generation capacity of 1,510 MW. The company previously announced the closure of Unit 1 at the site in March.

Fiddler’s Ferry has had limited success gaining supply contracts in the government’s Capacity Market auctions, and its current contract will end in September, says SSE. Its financial performance has deteriorated to unsustainable levels, with losses of around £40mn in the company’s last financial year.

With a background of national and international policies focusing on promoting lower carbon forms of electricity generation, the economics of coal-fired stations have become increasingly difficult. The UK has committed to ending unabated coal-fired electricity generation by 2025 – just six years away.

SSE employs 158 people at the site and says it will seek to avoid compulsory redundancies where possible. Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director of Thermal Energy at SSE, said: ‘At nearly 50 years old, the station is unable to compete with more efficient and modern gas and renewable generation.’

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