E.ON has announced that it will shut down its Kingsnorth coal fired power station in March next year.
E.ON has decided to shut down the Kent plant as a result of the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive legislation. This requires the plant to close once it has generated for 20,000 hours from 1 Jan 2008 or at the end of 2015, whichever comes first.
The coal fired power station, which was first commissioned in 1970, will reach its maximum allowed running hours by March next year.
There has been some concern that the UK’s energy security will be at risk from the closure of such plants and old nuclear power stations. Utility Exchange reported recently that imports of LNG into the UK have increased over the last few years but supplies could be at risk as shipments are diverted to Asia where suppliers can get higher prices. Consequently there are concerns business electricity prices and gas prices could increase.
CEO of E.ON UK, Dr Tony Cocker said “Kingsnorth has played a huge part in powering the country for many decades. I want to pay tribute to the thousands of men and women who have worked at the station over its lifetime, bringing light and warmth to the homes and businesses of the UK. We’ve been working hard with colleagues at the station to help, guide and support them through the process which will be ongoing until the station closes. In addition to our colleagues we will be communicating with the local community in the coming weeks about our closure plans”.
Meanwhile, E.ON’s gas fired combined heat and power plant on the Isle of Grain began operating last year. The company is also investing in a number of renewable energy projects among them the London Array offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary.
Utility Exchange reported recently that the Drax White Rose Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project could create1,250 jobs. However, E.ON has said it’s withdrawing its application to develop two new coal fired units which would be fitted with CCS technology. The company said the market was still not suitable for building such a power plant and the development couldn’t be completed within the Government’s timetable.
Dr Cocker said “As a group we believe CCS can become an important step in the transition to a low-carbon generation mix with the right regulatory, technological and economic support. We’re promoting CCS Research & Development across Europe by partnering with universities and by testing carbon-capture equipment at several of our power stations across Europe. Lessons from our projects will be shared with the UK and the entire E.ON Group”.
He added “Our announcement does not rule out future power generation on the site, which remains an excellent location for a new plant given its proximity to demand in the south-east, but the original plans are no longer appropriate”.