Power transition

Ferrybridge blast marks further retreat from coal

Alok Sharma presses detonator on chimney stacks

One of the most familiar symbols of King Coal was dramatically dethroned today when climate change chief Alok Sharma blew up two landmark chimney stacks at the former SSE-owned Ferrybridge power station in West Yorkshire.

With just 70 days to go until the landmark climate change summit in Glasgow, it was an opportunity for the COP26 President Alok Sharma to be the focus of Britain’s energy transition.

The demolition of the two 200-metre chimney stacks from the West Yorkshire skyline – recognised by millions of motorists travelling north-south on the A1 – was a tangible sign of the demise of coal.

It also comes just weeks after the IPCC issued a ‘code red’ warning to humanity on the urgent need to decarbonise.

Ferrybridge C power station opened in 1966 and in 2004 ownership passed to Perth-based energy firm SSE which closed it in 2016. In June, the UK Government announced that Britain will no longer use coal for energy generation from October 2024, a year earlier than previously planned.

Ferrybridge is less than 35 miles from Keadby in North Lincolnshire, where SSE is working to replace coal and other carbon-intensive forms of power generation with flexible, low-carbon alternatives.

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SSE is progressing plans with Equinor for one of the UK’s first power stations equipped with carbon capture technology at the site by 2027, as well as the world’s first major 100%-hydrogen fired power station by the end of the decade.

The plan is to locate these power stations on the same site as SSE’s under-construction Keadby 2, which uses technology already capable of blending low-carbon hydrogen and will be Europe’s most efficient power station.

As part of his visit, the COP President met with SSE employees who have transitioned from Ferrybridge to Keadby and those working on new low-carbon technologies, applying their skills and knowledge to the power stations of the future. 

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