Earlier this year ScottishPower announced that it was likely that Longannet would need to close following National Grid’s decision not to award the station a contract for grid balancing services.
The combination of high carbon taxes and high transmission charging means that running a thermal plant in Scotland is uneconomic. Longannet Power Station will now close on March 31st 2016, marking the end of its 46 years of power production in Scotland.
ScottishPower has been working closely with the Trade Unions, Local Councils and The Scottish Government to assess and manage the potential impact of Longannet’s closure. The station directly employs 236 people and ScottishPower is in dialogue with every individual employee. A number of opportunities will be available for redeployment to other areas of the ScottishPower business, and early retirement and redundancy packages will also be available.
Neil Clitheroe, CEO of Retail and Generation at ScottishPower, said: “This is a sad day for ScottishPower, and for our highly-skilled and committed team at Longannet. We have explored every potential option to keep the station open, and we still maintain that Longannet could continue generation in to the next decade under the right economic conditions.”
“Our main focus now is consulting with staff to ensure we find the best outcomes possible for all of the 236 impacted employees, many of whom have spent their entire career at the station. We would like to thank everyone at the station for their professionalism and continued commitment, and we know that the last few months have been very difficult. We will work hard with every person at Longannet to try to find the best outcome for them, whether it is finding another role in ScottishPower or leaving the company.”
ScottishPower also confirmed that it would not be progressing with the development of a CCGT plant at Cockenzie (due to the same economic conditions affecting all thermal plant in Scotland).
ScottishPower still has major investment plans, with around £8 billion to be spent in Scotland and the wider UK over the next five years, mainly in renewables and networks. This year alone UK investment will be £1.3bn. The company is in advanced stages of development for a new gas power station adjacent to its existing site at Damhead Creek in Kent and one of the largest offshore windfarms in the world off the coast of East Anglia. In networks, alongside National Grid, a project is underway to install the world's largest subsea high voltage transmission cable between Ayrshire and The Wirral.