Power station set to shut down next year

Town council leader Margaret Davies pictured in front of Didcot A power station

Town council leader Margaret Davies pictured in front of Didcot A power station

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

ONE of Didcot's power stations could close two years earlier than planned.

Coal-fired Didcot A was expected to remain open until 2015, but now looks likely to close next year.

In 2008, RWE npower agreed that the power station would close in 2015, or when it reached 20,000 hours of generation from that point.

It last night emerged the facility was likely to reach its limit by 2013.

If Didcot A does close next year, then demolition of its six iconic cooling towers could begin after six months of decommissioning the plant.

Town council leader Margaret Davies said: “Some people in Didcot have warmed to the cooling towers after all these years but they need to get ready for them coming down because they will soon be obsolete.

“People were appalled when the towers first went up but such is human nature that some people now have great affection for them.

“Vale council leaders will now have to start talks in earnest about what should go on the site after the plant closes and must liaise with South Oxfordshire District Council as the land is on Didcot’s doorstep.

“I think it could become a commercial site with businesses moving out of Lower Broadway relocating there – I don’t think it’s suitable for housing.”

Related links

Didcot A first generated electricity in September 1970 and celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2010, but the Oxford Mail has been told staff are now being advised that closure next year looks likely.

Didcot A power station manager Jim Haggan said: “Under the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive, Didcot A power station will close either by the end of 2015, or at the point at which we have completed the 20,000 hours of generation the legislation allows.

“The power station has had high levels of generation over the past year and this has had an impact on the remaining hours we have available to operate.

“It is likely that the station might close next year at the current rate of using the remaining hours. However, a fixed date has not been decided. Closing a major power station is a complex task and pre-planning is essential. The decommissioning and demolition of the plant could take years.”

Spokesman Kelly Brown added that since 2008, 250 staff at Didcot A have been aware of the closure plans and when the plant closes the company will try to find staff jobs elsewhere in the company.

She added some staff would move to other parts of the company while others would be involved in the station decommissioning.

RWE npower will discuss with local authority planners what the site could be used for.

Gas-fired Didcot B power station will not be affected by the closure of Didcot A and will continue production.

Ms Brown added: “The grid will not be affected if a coal station such as Didcot stopped generating, as new power stations have been built that will replace this lost capacity.

“RWE npower has built a new gas plant in Staythorpe (in Nottinghamshire) and a new gas plant in Pembroke will be operational by the end of this year.”

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:09am Wed 23 May 12

Megs says...

One of the impressive things about the power station site is that there is considerable biodiversity around it, some of it, whether flowers, birds, amphibians, are very rare. Few humans there and abundance of water contribute to this. In the rush to redevelop the area, shouldn't something be done to include and enhance this community benefit - which could also generate visitor income, such as happens at RSPB sites?
One of the impressive things about the power station site is that there is considerable biodiversity around it, some of it, whether flowers, birds, amphibians, are very rare. Few humans there and abundance of water contribute to this. In the rush to redevelop the area, shouldn't something be done to include and enhance this community benefit - which could also generate visitor income, such as happens at RSPB sites? Megs
  • Score: 0

3:05pm Wed 23 May 12

Diddy OX says...

Megs wrote:
One of the impressive things about the power station site is that there is considerable biodiversity around it, some of it, whether flowers, birds, amphibians, are very rare. Few humans there and abundance of water contribute to this. In the rush to redevelop the area, shouldn't something be done to include and enhance this community benefit - which could also generate visitor income, such as happens at RSPB sites?
Fantastic Megs lets turn an area of prime industrial land over to the local wildlife! This town needs proper jobs for the thousands who are unemployed in the south of Oxfordshire and this land is ideal for developement and job creation!
[quote][p][bold]Megs[/bold] wrote: One of the impressive things about the power station site is that there is considerable biodiversity around it, some of it, whether flowers, birds, amphibians, are very rare. Few humans there and abundance of water contribute to this. In the rush to redevelop the area, shouldn't something be done to include and enhance this community benefit - which could also generate visitor income, such as happens at RSPB sites?[/p][/quote]Fantastic Megs lets turn an area of prime industrial land over to the local wildlife! This town needs proper jobs for the thousands who are unemployed in the south of Oxfordshire and this land is ideal for developement and job creation! Diddy OX
  • Score: 0

7:07pm Wed 23 May 12

Megs says...

Diddy Ox, before you get too excited about turning the whole site over to conservation, perhaps you could consider my actual proposal, that a scheme around such a community benefit could be included in any development. I did not propose it was the only development - fantastic as you feel this would be. Incidentally, it's not clear that the site is prime industrial land, there are a number of costly matters any developer would have to factor in, such as land pollution, flooding and proximity to a major water source, etc.
Diddy Ox, before you get too excited about turning the whole site over to conservation, perhaps you could consider my actual proposal, that a scheme around such a community benefit could be included in any development. I did not propose it was the only development - fantastic as you feel this would be. Incidentally, it's not clear that the site is prime industrial land, there are a number of costly matters any developer would have to factor in, such as land pollution, flooding and proximity to a major water source, etc. Megs
  • Score: 0

1:21pm Thu 24 May 12

Abingdon Rob says...

Great idea Megs - we should have a mix of stuff there and not all of it has to be development.
I dont agree that we shouldnt have houses there as many people in this area would like to own their own home and cant afford it and this might be a chance for some less expensive houses.
Great idea Megs - we should have a mix of stuff there and not all of it has to be development. I dont agree that we shouldnt have houses there as many people in this area would like to own their own home and cant afford it and this might be a chance for some less expensive houses. Abingdon Rob
  • Score: 0

9:13pm Thu 24 May 12

LORD PETER MACVEY 0X2 6EG says...

This area is crying out for a theme park to fill the void between Alton Towers and Thorpe Park. That IS the way forward.
This area is crying out for a theme park to fill the void between Alton Towers and Thorpe Park. That IS the way forward. LORD PETER MACVEY 0X2 6EG
  • Score: 2

6:45am Wed 30 May 12

Buntcuster says...

People will moan when they have to pay higher bills because of the increased cost of using imported gas to generate electricity.
People will moan when they have to pay higher bills because of the increased cost of using imported gas to generate electricity. Buntcuster
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree