Falkirk jobs will go when Longannet shuts down early next year

It will be lights out at Longannet early in 2016

It will be lights out at Longannet early in 2016

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Scottish Power has announced it will have to close Kincardine’s Longannet power station early in 2016.

The energy company failed to win a vital contract from National Grid which would have given the under threat coal-fired facility, which includes staff from the Falkirk area among its 270 employees, a stay of execution.

Scottish Power stated Longannet would close if it did not secure a £15 million contract, to run from April 2016 to September 2017, to provide voltage support for the nation’s electricity supply.

The contract went to the SSE-operated gas-fired power station at Peterhead instead.

Neil Clitheroe, Scottish Power chief executive, said: “We are extremely disappointed with National Grid’s decision as Scottish Power submitted a competitive bid that reflected our commitment to protecting the immediate future of Longannet Power Station.

“The decision by National Grid means, in all likelihood, we will be forced to announce the closure of Longannet by March 2016. Everyone will appreciate it is a concerning time for all our people and we will do everything in our power to manage the outcome of this process as best we can.”

It costs about £40 million a year to keep Longannet connected to the national grid, while a similar power station in the south of England would receive a payment of £4 million.

Mr Clitheroe said: “The current transmission charging regime is a major barrier to any future investment in flexible thermal power generation in Scotland. In any future scenario for Scotland, it is vital the network here is supported by flexible generation to complement renewables.”