Staff claim Didcot Power station could have stayed open longer

Herald Series: Phil Noake Phil Noake

STAFF at Didcot power station insisted that the closure of coal-fired Didcot A Power Station was “premature” after power giants predicted looming blackouts.

Perth-based utility company SSE has announced the closure of almost a quarter of its power stations in the UK.

And chief executive Ian Marchant has accused the Government of underestimating the scale of the capacity shortfall the country faces.

The warning came weeks after electricity and gas regulator Ofgem raised concerns of “uncomfortably tight” power generation capacity in the years ahead, and said energy prices would be volatile.

Didcot A, run by RWE npower, was shut down yesterday under European Union rules to reduce pollution.

After reaching the limit of 20,000 hours of power generation since 2008, it was shut down at 2pm.

Colin Quinton, 60, from Sutton Courtenay, an operations and engineering support coordinator who has worked there since 1980, said: “I think it’s too early to close it.

“Some power stations have been fitted with flue gas desulphurisation which extends their lifespan.

“I think it costs about £100m to do it, but Didcot A could then have remained open until 2020. However, RWE npower decided not to do it.

“You can’t rely on solar power or wind turbines and I think you need nuclear power to provide a baseline.”

But station manager Phil Noake said two new gas-fired power stations at Staythorpe in Nottinghamshire and Pembrokeshire in Wales were already producing more power than Didcot.

RWE npower has invested about £3bn over the past three years in renewable and flexible gas-fired power stations in the UK.

Mr Noake added: “As a company we have to look to clean energy.

“I would like to thank all those in the local community who have supported us over the years, and thank our staff for their continued dedication and wish them success for their future.”

Wantage MP Ed Vaizey said: “It was very emotional to see the power station close and there is a huge amount of affection for it in the area.

“Its capacity has been more than replaced by two gas-fired power stations so I am confident that there will not be a capacity crunch.

“It’s sad to see it shut down but I don’t think it is closing prematurely and gas-fired power stations are more environmentally-friendly.

“It’s a sad day because Didcot A Power Station has been a good friend and neighbour to Didcot.”

During its lifetime, Didcot A has provided electricity to millions of homes and businesses across the UK.

Comments (4)

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9:57am Sat 23 Mar 13

benjamin says...

To switch off Didcot A when we are in the middle of the worst winter for decades , was a stupid decision. Who cares about European rules. They have plenty of nueclear power stations.
To switch off Didcot A when we are in the middle of the worst winter for decades , was a stupid decision. Who cares about European rules. They have plenty of nueclear power stations. benjamin

5:20pm Sat 23 Mar 13

shipscat says...

benjamin wrote:
To switch off Didcot A when we are in the middle of the worst winter for decades , was a stupid decision. Who cares about European rules. They have plenty of nueclear power stations.
What tosh! Its been quite a mild winter as records go and I for one will be glad to see the back of the smelly power station.
[quote][p][bold]benjamin[/bold] wrote: To switch off Didcot A when we are in the middle of the worst winter for decades , was a stupid decision. Who cares about European rules. They have plenty of nueclear power stations.[/p][/quote]What tosh! Its been quite a mild winter as records go and I for one will be glad to see the back of the smelly power station. shipscat

4:44pm Mon 25 Mar 13

peter4285 says...

I do feel so sorry for all the folks that have lost their jobs, but have to say I am not sorry to see it closed. The air polution was unacceptable with coverings of black smutts over every light covered surface. I am now a happy bunny.
I do feel so sorry for all the folks that have lost their jobs, but have to say I am not sorry to see it closed. The air polution was unacceptable with coverings of black smutts over every light covered surface. I am now a happy bunny. peter4285

2:33am Tue 26 Mar 13

daveman1960 says...

Didcot was nowhere near ready for closure. In my opinion it was a mistake to opt out of the LPCD and not fit FGD. Many similar stations have been fitted with FGD and will run for many more years. Theres already an ever increasing gap between demand and available generation and not enough new capacity is been brought online. Having worked in coal fired power stations, I feel for the workers. The whole working atmosphere and relationships between workers is great in these places!
Didcot was nowhere near ready for closure. In my opinion it was a mistake to opt out of the LPCD and not fit FGD. Many similar stations have been fitted with FGD and will run for many more years. Theres already an ever increasing gap between demand and available generation and not enough new capacity is been brought online. Having worked in coal fired power stations, I feel for the workers. The whole working atmosphere and relationships between workers is great in these places! daveman1960

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