SSE mulls early closure of Fiddler’s Ferry despite capacity market contract

SSE: No capacity contract might mean no power station
SSE: No capacity contract might mean no power station

SSE is consulting on early closure of three of four units at Fiddler’s Ferry, its 2GW coal fired power station in Cheshire. The power firm confirmed its plans today following press stories last week.

If it decides to cease operations, SSE would shut down three units in eight weeks time (1 April). The fourth unit will be unaffected as it has a contract to provide services to the electricity system for the winter of 2016/17, said the company. The consultation comes after SSE failed to secure a capacity market contract for the station in the 2019/20 capacity auction.

The move could potentially come at a £33m cost as the company would have to pay the government that amount to terminate its existing capacity contracts, although it may be possible take a lower hit by offloading the agreement to other generators.

“The fact it makes more sense for SSE to contemplate making a substantial payment in lieu of the capacity agreement relating to Fiddler’s Ferry in 2018/19 demonstrates just how economically challenged Fiddler’s Ferry has become – its losses are unsustainable,” said Paul Smith, SSE Managing Director, Generation.

“However our commitment to UK generation remains strong: this winter we have restored 1,135MW of gas-fired generation capacity to commercial operations and since 2008 we have invested £1bn in thermal electricity generation plant in this country and want to invest more in the future.”

See the full announcement here.

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