South East Wales

Coal-fired power station at Uskmouth to shut

The UK's oldest coal-fired power station near Newport is to close, putting 83 jobs at risk.

Renewable Electricity and gas supplier SSE said it "extremely disappointed" to lose the site in Uskmouth.

Built around 50 years ago and known as Uskmouth B, SSE said it was the UK's oldest and least efficient coal-fired power station.

The company said options for redeployment within SSE are currently being explored with affected employees.

SSE said the announcement followed "intense efforts" to sell Uskmouth Power Company to a suitable purchaser.

SSE said it confirmed in March that it was in detailed negotiations with prospective buyers for Uskmouth.

But it said it was now clear the group would not be able to provide a secure, sustainable future for the plant and its employees. Unfortunately, the only remaining option was to close the station, it added.

Paul Smith, SSE's managing director of generation said: "Uskmouth's future operational regime had been an area of uncertainty for SSE over the past 12 months as the asset neared the end of its working life and the ongoing financial position of the station continued to be challenging.

'Robust'

"We reluctantly confirmed in November that remaining transmission entry capacity (TEC) capacity would be released to the National Grid by 31 March 2014 and that Uskmouth would cease to generate on that date - this has now happened.

"SSE had hoped to sell the asset on to a third party by the end of the financial year with a view to that company continuing operation of the plant in a long term, sustainable way.

"Unfortunately this hasn't been possible, principally because the only realistic prospective purchaser was not able to provide a robust business plan to reassure us the plant and employees would be supported.

"SSE is extremely disappointed to close Uskmouth and I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to everyone in the workforce for the contribution they have made over the past five years to the safe and efficient running of the power station."

A new gas-fired power station built at a cost of £600m at Uskmouth was opened by DONG Energy in 2011, and later sold to a finance consortium.

John Toner of the union Unite, which represents many of the station's workers, said closure was a devastating blow to the staff and to the local economy.

Mr Toner, who is due to meet the company this lunchtime, said they were highly-skilled workers who would be lost to the sector and the Newport economy unless they could be found new posts.

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