E.ON’s Ironbridge Power Station to generate electricity for the last time

By JaneBranscombe

E.ON has today (FRI) confirmed that Ironbridge
Power Station1 in Shropshire will cease commercial generation at
1430 hours, and will permanently close following 46 years of service.

The iconic plant, which will
reach its 20,000 hours limit of generation under the Large Combustion Plant
Directive2 today, was officially first synchronised to the grid by
former E.ON colleague Mike Smith in 1969 and has played an important role in
generating the electricity required to power homes and
businesses in the UK ever since. Mike, who retired from his role as Shift
Charge Engineer at Ironbridge in 1992, has been invited back to press the
button to cease generation and mark the closure of the plant.

A small team will now begin the decommissioning
phase, which is due to run until early 2017, ensuring the plant is shut down
safely and the site is secure. The team will also remove fixtures and equipment
from the buildings, including a large mosaic which was designed and created by
pupils from St Martins Modern School in 1966. The mosaic, which has been prominently
displayed in the plant’s main conference room, will be returned to the school
in Oswestry.

Once the decommissioning process is complete, a
decision will be made regarding the future of the Ironbridge site and E.ON will
provide updates as appropriate.

Tony Cocker,
E.ON Chief Executive, said:
“I’m hugely
proud of the contribution Ironbridge Power Station has made to the UK’s energy
infrastructure for almost half a century.

“The closure of such an iconic plant will of course
be tinged with sadness having played such an important role in the community –
over 400 people worked on site when Ironbridge was at the peak of generation,
many from the local area.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all
those who have supported the ongoing operations and maintenance at the plant,
and our continued focus will be supporting those colleagues who are directly
affected by today’s closure.”

Former E.ON colleague and local Shawbirch resident,
Mike Smith, said:
“It was a great
honour to be given the responsibility of synchronising Ironbridge Power Station
to the
UK electricity supply system in
1969, when I was starting my career in the energy industry.

“I relocated to Shropshire when I was appointed as
Assistant Shift Charge Engineer and continued to work at the plant for over 25
years. Obviously many people will have mixed emotions today, but I’m proud to
have contributed to the success of a power station which has been at the
cornerstone of energy generation and has supported the careers of many members
of staff for so many years.”

The construction of Ironbridge Power Station began
in 1962 and is located close to
where the Industrial Revolution began. The plant was originally designed to run on coal
and at full capacity was capable of generating up to 1000MW from two 500MW
units. It was later converted to biomass and electrical output was reduced to
740MW. However, only one of the two units has been operational following a fire
in 2014 and capacity was further reduced to 370MW.


Notes to Editors:

1 – This release
relates to Ironbridge Power Station B which
first synchronised to the UK electricity supply
system in 1969. The first power station to be built on the site was Ironbridge
A which was operational from 1932-80. The two plant co-existed until Ironbridge
A was demolished in 1982/3.

2 – The coal-fired
plant, which was converted to run on biomass in 2012, was required to close
under the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD) after generating for
20,000 hours from 1 January 2008 or
by the end of 2015, whichever came first. It was deemed economically
unviable to
install emission abatement
equipment to the plant that would mean it would comply with the emissions
limits under LCPD.

more information contact:

Roxanne Postle: 02476 195 785 / roxanne.postle@eon-uk.com

Scott Somerville: 02476 183 438 / scott.somerville@eon-uk.com

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