After 115 years, Scotland ends coal power use


After some 115 years, Scotland has burned its last lump of coal for electricity. For nearly 50 years the Longannet power station in Scotland burned coal for energy. The plant, the last of its kind in Scotland, closed Thursday.

Photo Credit: Graeme Maclean from Flickr.
Photo Credit: Graeme Maclean from Flickr.

The Longannet power station, the last and largest coal-fired power plant in Scotland, ceased operations last Thursday. What once was the largest coal plant in Europe shut down after 46 years before the eyes of workers and journalists, who gathered in the main control room.

Scottish Power said Longannet had been “essential to meeting the electricity needs of Scotland” through its final winter in operation, on average generating enough electricity to supply more than a quarter of Scottish homes.

Britain’s coal-fired plants have been closing ahead of a 2023 deadline for compliance with new EU rules on air quality. The Scottish government has also complained about a transmission regime that favours power plants located near the biggest population centres.

During its lifetime, more than 177 million tons of coal was used along with 2.7 million tons of heavy fuel oil and 2.4 million cubic metres of natural gas.Hugh Finlay, generation director at ScottishPower, said:
“Coal has long been the dominant force in Scotland’s electricity generation fleet but the closure of Longannet signals the end of an era.
“For the first time in more than a century no power produced in Scotland will come from burning coal.
“The highly skilled team at Longannet have worked hard in difficult circumstances over the last six months to ensure that the station continued to operate at a high level over the winter.Originally designed to run for 25 years, the success of Longannet has been driven by substantial investment over the years and by the dedication of the men and women overseeing its operations.”