Plug pulled on Longannet power station as closure date is confirmed

Longannet power station will close in March 2016
Longannet power station will close in March 2016

Longannet power station will close in March 2016, it was confirmed this morning.

Operators Scottish Power revealed the future of the plant was in doubt earlier this year following National Grid’s decision not to award the station a contract for grid balancing services.

Scottish Power’s decision to close Longannet has far reaching consequences for Scotland

Energy minister Fergus Ewing

The coal-powered station, the last of its kind in Scotland, will close on March 31.

It directly employs 236 staff.

Neil Clitheroe, CEO of retail and generation at Scottish Power, said: “This is a sad day for Scottish Power, and for our highly-skilled and committed team at Longannet.

“We have explored every potential option to keep the station open, and we still maintain that Longannet could continue generation in to the next decade under the right economic conditions.”

“Our main focus now is consulting with staff to ensure we find the best outcomes possible for all of the 236 impacted employees, many of whom have spent their entire career at the station.

“We would like to thank everyone at the station for their professionalism and continued commitment, and we know that the last few months have been very difficult. We will work hard with every person at Longannet to try to find the best outcome for them, whether it is finding another role in ScottishPower or leaving the company.”

The Scottish Government will establish a taskforce to support those impacted by the closure of Longannet Power Station.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Scottish Power’s decision to close Longannet in March 2016 is deeply regrettable and has far reaching consequences for Scotland.

“This is a worrying time for Longannet workers and the Scottish Government and its agencies will do everything possible to support the 230 directly employed staff who will be affected by this announcement. Our initiative for responding to redundancy situations, Partnership Action for Continuing Employment, has already offered immediate support for affected employees and will work closely with the company and workforce representatives to provide a tailored package of support.

“In addition, there will be significant impacts in the Scottish supply chain, with hundreds of indirect jobs in the coal, transport and service sectors reliant on the power station.”

Labour’s shadow Energy Minister Lewis Macdonald MSP said: “Although this news will come as no surprise to Longannet employees, it is nevertheless deeply disappointing that Scottish Power has now confirmed the closure of the Fife power station up to four years earlier than previously anticipated.

“SNP ministers have been reluctant to engage on this issue and setting up a task-force only today shows they have been far too slow in preparing for the consequences. It is high time Fergus Ewing put people before politics and worked with Fife Council to support Longannet workers going forward.”