Eggborough coal-fired power station in East Yorkshire is to close as pressure to phase out the fossil fuel continues.
The move follows the power plant’s failure to secure funding through the “capacity market” for 2018-2019, which pays suppliers to be available to provide electricity to ensure the lights do not go out.
Eggborough Power said it would meet its obligations under its current capacity market contract, which runs to the end of September 2018.
But without a contract for future years it “will cease to be economically viable to continue operations at the station”, which the company said supplied 5% of the power in the UK, though coal power overall declined to lows of 9% in 2016.
It leaves only six dedicated coal-fired power plants in England and Wales: Cottam, Nottinghamshire; West Burton, Lincolnshire; Aberthaw, Vale of Glamorgan; Uskmouth, Newport; three units at Drax, North Yorkshire; and Ratcliffe-on-Soar, Nottinghamshire, while a seventh, Fiddler’s Ferry, in Cheshire, is capable of co-firing coal and biomass.
Adam Booth, managing director at Eggborough Power, said: “With the age of the plant and the current Government’s policy that all UK coal-fired power generation must cease by 2025, Eggborough has been under threat of closure for the past few years.
“Eggborough has a proud history of generation and a dedicated and skilled workforce.
“We will work through the consultation with employee representatives and provide support to employees throughout this process.”
Numbers of potential redundancies and associated timing are subject to consultation with staff representatives, the company said.
But there may be a number of jobs to support decommissioning, demolition and future business opportunities beyond September 2018.
There are also plans for a new 2,500 megawatt gas-fired power plant at the site, which could meet the electricity needs of around two million homes, but it is not anticipated to be operational until the early 2020s.
Ministers have said they will implement limits for the amount of carbon dioxide coal plants can emit from October 1 2025, which will mean all power stations that have not invested in technology to cut their emissions will have to cease operation.
The move implements a pledge originally made in 2015 to end “unabated”, without technology to cut carbon emissions, coal generation in Great Britain by 2025 as part of efforts to tackle climate change.
Negotiations officer for the union Prospect Mike MacDonald said: “Whilst we fully support a move to a low-carbon energy system, the speed of change cannot be allowed to cause hardship for those working in the industry.
“This is the third announcement of the rapid closure of a conventional power station since the New Year. We will continue to fight to ensure our members get the best deal.
He added: “This move demonstrates the need for urgent action from the Government to have an energy transition plan.
“Investors must be able to see a stable environment so they can prepare for a low-carbon economy and workers need to adapt their high-tech skills to equip them for the future.”