Yvette Cooper MP

Working hard for Normanton, Pontefract, Castleford & Knottingley

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Yvette raises urgent concerns over closure of Ferrybridge

Local MP Yvette Cooper has raised urgent concerns with SSE and Government Ministers as Ferrybridge power station faces closure at the end of March.

The MP, who has been fighting the closure alongside workers at the power station and local trade unions, has written to Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom and SSE Chief Executive Alistair Phillips-Davies appealing to them to re-consider the imminent closure citing growing concerns about a possible “energy gap” over the coming years. 

In her letter, Ms Cooper says “I am deeply concerned by reports that the UK could be facing an energy gap over the next few years with demand for electricity likely to outstrip supply. There have been such warnings since the closure plan was announced… in addition I have been told that more polluting diesel generators could be used to meet demand if there is a shortfall.”

There is growing concern nationally that the energy gap created by the loss of coal-fired power stations in Yorkshire, Scotland and elsewhere is being filled by the use of diesel generators that are more expensive to run and are worse for the environment. Last year the amount of energy generation that was available for diesel stations to create more than doubled, with nearly two thirds of that being from new sources.

In her letter she also urges SSE to re-consider a worker-led plan to keep Ferrybridge running for at least an extra year, saying “it is clear that there is still enough coal on site at Ferrybridge to maintain production at current levels for at least one year – possibly more. I understand SSE rejected a plan to been the station option to use up this coal, but I would ask you to revisit this plan and keep the station open as long as possible.”

Speaking about the campaign to keep Ferrybridge open, Yvette Cooper said:

“The Government is closing power stations down without putting new energy in its place and Ferrybridge is paying the price. I just think it’s ridiculous that there is still so much usable coal at Ferrybridge that could be used to keep people in skilled work and yet the station is closing in a little over a month even though we don't have enough alternative power generation in place. The workers and unions have fought hard to propose alternative plans and to make the case that keeping Ferrybridge open makes sense but the Government and SSE won’t reconsider.

“Everyone knows we need greener technologies - and that's exactly why we called for new investment in carbon capture and storage and clean coal technology. But the Government has pulled the plug on the clean coal project at Drax. And it makes no sense to replace coal with diesel instead as that is worse for the environment.

“In the light of this latest report from the National Grid showing that demand will outstrip supply this year, I'm urging them to think again even at this late stage on Ferrybridge.”



Notes to the editor: 

  • There have been two capacity market auctions in Devember 2014 and December 2015. Diesel generators were (unexpectedly) successful in both auctions.

The following gives the capacity for diesel generators that were successful in each auction:

Capacity market auctions – diesel generation


2015 auction

2014 auction




Existing embedded diesel



New embedded diesel







Source: Calculations  by IPPR and Sandbag.   


National Grid report detailing 2015/2016 plans including expected shortfall of supply: http://media.nationalgrid.com/media/1226/ng_winter_outlook_2015.pdf


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commented 2016-04-14 15:38:41 +0100
It’s definitely sensible to use the coal on the site has already there, is the intention by SSE to leave a black mountain on this site for the foreseeable future with no use? – that would be unacceptable.

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