EDF has decided to end generation at West Burton A power station, its sole remaining coal-fired power station, in September 2022.
Over the next 18 months, two of the four 500MW coal units will be available purely to meet capacity market commitments, in order to assist with the security of supply.
The station will move into decommissioning by 30 September 2022.
EDF’s managing director for the generation business, Matt Sykes, said: “West Burton A and its loyal workforce have played a critical role providing power to the UK for 55 years, including during this recent winter. Since 1966, the station has produced enough electricity to meet the needs of all UK households for more than 4 years, a truly incredible achievement.
“With EDF’s power generation strategy firmly focused on nuclear and renewables – and in this key year for UK leadership on climate change – we now believe it is the right time to provide clarity to our employees and all those connected to the site.”
In terms of the staff consultation process, EDF has worked closely with the three unions – GMB, Prospect and Unite – to prepare for the future of West Burton A. This has included discussing individuals’ future aspirations and identifying personal development to help people extend their careers after closure.
The full-time Union officers said: “Today’s announcement brings welcome certainty to the dedicated West Burton A workforce about the future of the station. With Government policy to close all UK coal generation by 2024, we knew it had a limited future so we have been working alongside EDF to understand the implications for West Burton A and to prepare colleagues for the future. Knowing the date of closure allows people to make plans. Enabling a ‘Just Transition’ away from coal generation is very important for the Unions.”
Mike Macdonald, negotiations officer of Prospect, said: “We need to be sure that the transition from traditional generation to low carbon energy is fair to individuals who have worked hard and flexibly to keep customers supplied with electricity. I am personally very pleased to be involved in running ‘Just Transition’ workshops for the West Burton A team over the coming months as we move towards decommissioning in 2022. This should help highly skilled and valued colleagues to continue to contribute to the industry.”
At its peak, West Burton A employed 750 people. Today there are around 170 employees at the plant.