world : Final fuel delivery marks end of the line for coal

world : Final fuel delivery marks end of the line for coal
world : Final fuel delivery marks end of the line for coal

Monday 1 July 2024 10:31 PM

Nafeza 2 world - The UK's last remaining coal-fired power station is entering its final days.

The plant at Ratcliffe-on Soar, Nottinghamshire, is a prominent landmark for rail passengers on the Midlands Main Line and M1 traffic passing close by.

It began generating electricity 57 years ago - in 1967 - with a capacity of 2,000 megawatts, enough to power two million homes.

However, it will close on 30 September as part of government plans to end coal production in the UK.

Coal once dominated the East Midlands region, with the Ratcliffe Power Station at its heart.

However, just as the coal mines have closed, now the UK's last coal-fired power station will cease production this autumn.

Coal is a fossil fuel and has been generating electricity in Britain since the Industrial Revolution, but it is now known for its impact on the environment.

When coal burns, it releases greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere.

Over time, the build-up of those gases has increased global temperatures, by trapping extra energy in the Earth's atmosphere.

The European Union ranked Ratcliffe as the continent's 18th most polluting power plant in 2008.

The UK has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

To help achieve that target, the UK government has said it wants to achieve fully "clean" electricity by 2035, by rapidly increasing wind, solar, and nuclear power.

At the turn of the 20th Century, coal was used to generate over 95% of energy consumed in the UK. By 2023, that had fallen to just 1%.

In a landmark moment, GB Railfreight delivered what is likely to be the plant's final coal shipment on Friday 28 June.

The 1,650-tonne delivery, is enough coal to generate electricity for approximately 500,000 homes for an eight-hour period.

It is the last batch of more than six million tonnes of coal transported to the site from the Port of Immingham, Lincolnshire.

To mark the end of the line, operator GB Railfreight named the locomotive ‘Ratcliffe Power Station’.

The company says each of its trains can carry the equivalent load of up to 129 lorries.

The owner of the power station - international energy company Uniper - says it hopes the site could become a zero-carbon technology and energy hub.

The firm already has its Technology Centre at Ratcliffe-on-Soar, where it carries out research and development on power generation.

The site has a Local Development Order (LDO) in place, granted by Rushcliffe Borough Council in 2023.

The council said its decision to simplify the planning permission process could fast-track development once the power station closes.

At the time, Neil Clarke, the Conservative leader of the council, said the LDO could help to create an estimated 7,000 jobs.

Mike Lockett, from Uniper said: "We’re also exploring the potential for future hydrogen production at the site."

Decommissioning at the Ratcliffe plant will start on 1 October, immediately after power production finishes, and take two years to complete.

Uniper says 125 of its staff will stay on to help close it down.

Demolition of the cooling towers and the rest of the 655-acre site will only happen once decommissioning is complete.

The council said it would limit the amount of development before road access improvements were made, to ensure local roads could cope with increased traffic.

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