The end of an era for Littlebrook Power station has been announced. The station was officially closed down on March 31st after being in service for decades, the station’s owners announced recently.
The station, which is based in Kent, was not part of the Large Combustion Plant Directive, which meant that is was scheduled for closure either in 2015, or after it had been in service for more than 10,000 hours.
German company RWE Generation, who own the Littlebrook Power Station, said they made the decision to close it down this year because of “current market conditions”.
The plant was the last significant non-gas fired station in the Greater London area to be closed down; it has been operating since the 1980s and construction work began on it in the 1970s.
RWE Generation says that during the stations life span, it provided 43475.699 GWh of power to fuel both homes and businesses in the local area. The owners of the station also pride themselves on the links they forged with the local community.
Commenting on the announcement, Roger Miesen, Chief Technical Officer (CTO), RWE Generation, said:
“Today is a sad but not unexpected day. I’d like to pay tribute to this station and the people that have worked here helping to keep the lights on across London for so many years.”
While Keven Nix, Head of RWE Generation UK, said:
“I would like to thank all of our staff past and present who have contributed to the success of the station, we are also grateful to the local community for their continuous support during the life of the plant.”
During its lifetime, Littlebrook Power Station set some records for producing electricity. This was during the 1980s miners’ strike, when the power station was operating as a three unit station to keep the electric flowing to local residents and businesses.
The Littlebrook Power Station has also proved crucial when it comes to meeting the growing demands for energy, providing power during peak times in the Greater London area.
Cleaner energy supplies
The decision to close Littlebrook Power Station is part of a drive towards finding greener energy alternatives for power generation. RWE has stated it has invested over £6 billion in a five year period into improving the efficiency of power generation by shutting down the older fossil fuel plants.
£4.2 million worth of government funding has been made available to carry out a feasibility study for the proposed Caledonian Clean Energy Project. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has given funding of £1.7 million, while the Scottish government has given £2.5 billion in funding.
The money will enable the Summit Power Group, who are based in Seattle, to carry out an intensive research and a feasibility study for the full–chain 570 MW Carbon-Capture-Storage (CCS) coal-gasification power station, which is planned for Grangemouth.
According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the feasibility study and research phase will help to plan the design, sighting, and financing of the power station as well as the building work that will be required.
Commenting on the funding, Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said:
“Carbon Capture and Storage could be crucial in helping us meet our ambitious climate change goals. The UK is one of the world’s frontrunners in this sector and the UK Government is leading Europe with its support of the two competition projects at Peterhead in Scotland and White Rose in Yorkshire.
“Developing CCS more widely is vital if it is to become cost-competitive technology, and I’m excited at the prospect of Grangemouth contributing to the UK’s low carbon future.
The next phase of making the Grangemouth project a reality will involve carrying out the research and development work, which is scheduled to last for 18 months. The results of this aspect of the project are important; there are plans to share it across the industry to help boost the understanding of successfully developing and deploying carbon capture storage commercially.
The project at Grangemouth is the first of its kind, and if it is successful, it will combine a state-of-the-art coal gasification and carbon capture technologies all into one individual unit.
The carbon capture storage technology would make it possible to retain the majority of the CO2 emissions that escape; these would then be transported off the site via onshore pipelines, which would then be stored deep under the North Sea.
Carbon Emissions Pledge
The government has pledged to take action to reduce carbon emissions and it has come up with numerous initiatives to encourage companies to come up with solutions to emit CO2 emissions and to fund greener forms of technology. If the Grangemouth project is implemented successfully in the future it will offer another way to reduce carbon emissions.