RWE to shut 1.6GW Aberthaw B coal station

Aberthaw B: CreativeCommons Dm4244

RWE will close the 1,560MW Aberthaw B coal fired power station on 31 March 2020. The utility said it will transfer Capacity Market agreements to third parties and a small portion to other units in its fleet.

Carbon prices surged to an 11-year high last month, adding pressure to economics the company said have been “challenging” for some time. Consultation has begun with 170 staff affected by the decision.

“This is a difficult time for everyone at Aberthaw Power Station. However market conditions made this decision necessary,” said RWE Generation CEO, Roger Miesen. “I would like to thank all of our staff, past and present, who have contributed to the success of the station for so many years. Over the coming months we will complete the consultation process”.

Chief commercial officer Tom Glover said the station had played “an invaluable role” for nearly 50 years and said RWE will “remain an important player in the UK energy market” via gas and biomass assets.

With SSE’s 1.5GW Fiddlers Ferry set to shut in March 2020 and EDF’s 2GW Cottam plant to close in September this year, some 5GW capacity will be off stream by next spring.

While the UK currently has plenty of generation headroom, the demise of coal may see Capacity Market prices start to rise in the coming years, should the market be reinstated following an investigation by the European Commission.

The closures leave Uniper’s 2GW Ratcliffe on Soar, Drax’s remaining coal units (1.3GW) and EDF’s 2GW West Burton A plants as the last standing GB coal stations.

Related stories:

Capacity Market: Sara Bell on what happens next

Capacity Market clears at 77p

SSE to close Fiddler’s Ferry

Drax and Iberdrola agree Capacity Market risk share to get deal over line

UK facing massive power shortages when coal stations close, warn engineers

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