“Fiddlers Ferry power station was built by the Cleveland Bridge Company and came into full operation in 1973. One of the station’s cooling towers collapsed in high winds on 13 January 1984. It has since been rebuilt. There are eight cooling towers arranged in two groups of four located to the north and south of the main building. There is a single chimney located to the east of the main building.
The station was built by the CEGB but was transferred to Powergen PLC after privatisation of the UK’s electricity industry in 1990. Fiddlers Ferry, along with Ferrybridge Power Station in Yorkshire, was then sold to Edison Mission Energy in 1999. They were then sold on to AEP Energy Services Ltd in 2001, and both were sold again in July 2004 to Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) for £136 million.
When it was built, the station mainly burned coal mined in the South Yorkshire Coalfield and transported across the Pennines on the Manchester-Sheffield-Wath electric railway. Today, all coal for the station is imported.
SSE announced in February 2016 that it intended to close three of the four units at the plant by 1 April 2016. However, it secured a 12-month contract in April 2016.
One unit closed in 2019, reducing capacity to 1.51 GW. SSE in June 2019 announced that the power station would totally close by 31 March 2020. Finally on 31 March 2020, the plant was desynchronized from the National Grid, ending 47 years of electricity generation.
The station generated electricity using three (formerly four) 500 MW generating sets. The station consumed 195 million litres of water daily from the River Mersey. All its coal was imported, and transported by train. At full capacity, 16,000 tonnes of coal were burned each day. It also burned biofuels together with the coal. The station was supplied with coal via a branch off the adjacent freight only rail line between Warrington and Widnes running along the banks of the River Mersey. Rail facilities include an east-facing junction on the mainline controlled by a signal box, two hopper approach tracks, gross-weight and tare-weight weighbridges, coal track hoppers, a fly ash siding, a gypsum loading plant and a control building.
Fiddlers Ferry was fitted with Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) plant to reduce the emissions of sulphur by 94%, meeting the European Large Combustion Plant Directive. This work commenced in 2006 and was completed in 2008.
As of March 2010, 2010, the station was being considered for the installation of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) equipment. This would reduce the station’s emissions of nitrogen oxides, to meet the requirements of the Industrial Emissions (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) Directive, which must be implemented by 2016. The SCR technology would replace the Separated Over Fire Air (SOFA) technology which was used in the station. On 18 November 2015 Amber Rudd the Minister in charge of the Department of Energy and Climate Change proposed that the UK’s remaining coal-fired power stations will be shut by 2025 with their use restricted by 2023.
In March 2017, the power station secured a contract to provide electricity until September 2018. At this point, the power station employed 160 people, down from 213 the previous year. As of February 2018, the station had agreements to supply electricity until September 2019. In June 2019 it was announced that the power station would close by March 2020. The power station closed on 31 March 2020. Units 2 and 4 ceased generation on 7 March 2020. Unit 3 ceased generation on 18 March 2020 at around 2 pm.”
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