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Fiddler’s Ferry power station to close next year

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THE giant Fiddler’s Ferry Power Station, near Warrington, is set to close by the end of March next year.
This was announced today by owners SSE, who are now commencing consultation with employees and trade unions.
Fiddler’s Ferry is SSE’s last remaining coal-fired power station. The company previously announced the closure of Unit 1 at the site in March and the new announcement seals the fate of the remaining units.
In a statement, the company says that as national and international policies focus on promoting lower-carbon forms of electricity generation in a bid to tackle climate change, the economics of coal-fired stations have become increasingly challenged.
The UK has committed to ending unabated coal-fired electricity generation by 2025, and now the Government has confirmed it will legislate to achieve a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050.
Fiddler’s Ferry’s financial performance has deteriorated to unsustainable levels, with losses around £40 million in the last financial year and projections for further losses in future years.
SSE employs 158 people at the site and will seek to avoid compulsory redundancies where possible.  Following collective consultation on the proposed closure, it will look at options to redeploy employees, while some will have a continuing role in managing the decommissioning of the plant and SSE will also offer voluntary redundancy on enhanced terms.
Stephen Wheeler, managing director of thermal energy at SSE, said:  “The proposed closure of SSE’s coal-fired power station at Fiddler’s Ferry is a very difficult decision because of the impact on our employees and contractors at the station, their families and the local community.
“Financially, the station is making significant losses and our projections show that this will continue to be the case as the UK looks to phase out coal-fired generation by 2025 at latest. At nearly 50 years old, the station is unable to compete with more efficient and modern gas and renewable generation.
“We have a talented and dedicated team at Fiddler’s Ferry and our priority is to support employees and ensure they have a range of options available to them for the future.  SSE is proud of the social and economic contributions the station and our employees have made for the local area and wider society.”
South Warrington Conservative prospective Parliamentary candidate Andy Carter said: “I am very aware that this announcement has an immediate impact on the people currently working at Fiddlers Ferry and their families and I hope that SSE will do all in their power to find suitable alternative employment for all those affected.
“Sadly, this news isn’t unexpected, the economics of coal-fired electricity generation have become increasingly challenging.   It’s vital  the borough council now also take steps to engage with SSE to develop a plan for the Fiddlers Ferry site, so that land which can be used is regenerated as soon as possible and we encourage business to locate here to provide employment for future generations.”

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