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No To Closure Of Rugeley Power Station

Monday, February 8, 2016

GMB Call On Government To Ask National Grid Not To Allow Further Power Station Closures Without Clarity Regarding Future Supplies

Lessons need to be learned from 4th November 2015 when National Grid had to invoke special measures to prevent a blackout before nine stations close this year says GMB.

GMB, the union for energy and engineering construction workers, commented on the announcement that Rugeley Power Station is expected to close this summer. See Notes to Editor for a copy of the press release dated 8th February from Engie plus a copy of GMB press release responding to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers statement on possible electricity shortage.

Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Officer for engineering construction, said “ Last month the Institution of Mechanical Engineers warned that the UK faces an electricity supply gap of up to 55% by 2025 because of the closure of coal and nuclear plants.

It would now appear that coal, the cheapest form of energy generation in the UK, is being squeezed out of the market prematurely by either the suppliers wanting more profit or by Government insistence on these stations closing.

The Government and the suppliers should now stop this nonsense. They should think hard at the consequences of yet another generation hub like Rugeley closing at a time when there is little or no building of any sustainable replacement capacity such as gas fired CCGT's.

New nuclear has stalled and is at least 10 years away. Wind power could not sustain the needs for London let alone the UK and is reliant on the weather.

Lessons need to be learned from 4th November 2015 when National Grid had to invoke special measures to keep the lights on. This happened on what was not a very cold day and before nine power stations close in 2016.

Government should call in National Grid to examine what is going to happen and it should not allow the closure of this power station until new capacity is on stream to keep the lights on.”


Contact: Phil Whitehurst 07968 338810 or Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for energy on 07860 606137 or GMB Press Office on 07921 289880 or 07974 251823 or 07970 863411.

Notes to Editors:

1.Copy of press release dated 8th February 2016 from Engie.

Rugeley Power Station expected to cease operations this summer

ENGIE is today announcing that its 1,000 MW Rugeley Power Station in Staffordshire is expected to cease market operations in early summer 2016 due to the deterioration in market conditions for UK coal-fired power generation.

This closure will potentially lead to the loss of 150 jobs, subject to the outcome of an employee consultation exercise, and any further discussions with government bodies. During the consultation period, ENGIE will seek to identify redeployment opportunities elsewhere across the business, in line with the Group’s ongoing commitment to employees. A number of ongoing roles are expected to be required to support decommissioning and redevelopment of the site.

Unfortunately market conditions for UK coal plant have deteriorated rapidly in recent years, as a result of a continued fall in power prices on the back of commodity market decline, and increases in carbon costs. Under such conditions, there is no prospect of the power station recovering its future operating costs.
ENGIE remains one of the UK’s largest independent power producers and will continue to invest in its energy and services capabilities as a long-term committed partner for the UK.

David Alcock, CEO of ENGIE’s Energy Infrastructure division in the UK, said: “It is with deep regret that we have had to make this decision at Rugeley. Our priority now is to support the employees and help them through this period. We implemented a number of changes at Rugeley a year ago in order to help maintain operations at the site but a combination of falling prices and the impact of various market changes has now made this unviable.

“We will of course keep all options for the power station under review, and will maintain dialogue with all stakeholders as we proceed with the employee consultation process. I would personally like to thank everyone at Rugeley for their contribution to our business and for their loyal service to the Power Station.”
Rugeley Power Station is jointly owned by ENGIE (75%) and Mitsui & Co. Ltd. (25%). It can provide enough electricity to power 1 million homes and is one of the most flexible and efficient coal-fired stations in the UK.

The Station is also known as Rugeley “B” and has been in operation since 1970. Rugeley “A” station, built on the same site back in the 1950s, was decommissioned in 1996.

2.Copy of GMB press release dated 29th January 2016


Government needs to spell out a proper long term plan for replacement power stations - they can't keep kicking this can down the road much longer says GMB

GMB, the union for energy and engineering construction workers, commented on the warning from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers that the UK faces an electricity supply gap of up to 55% by 2025 because of the closure of coal and nuclear plants. See notes to editors for copy of report on Press Association.

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for energy, said "This report is right to highlight the looming shortage of electricity generation within the next decade. That's why GMB and others have consistently called for more direct government investment and incentives for the private sector to invest in securing the nation’s future energy supply.

The government needs to spell out a proper long term plan to replace closing stations - they can't keep kicking this can down the road much longer.

GMB is hopeful that Hinkley Point C will be given the final green light very soon after so many years of delays."


3 Copy of story on Press Association 26 Jan 2016


By Alan Jones, Press Association Industrial Correspondent

The UK faces an electricity supply gap of up to 55% by 2025 because of the closure of coal and nuclear plants, the government is being warned.

Plans to plug the gap by building combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants are "unrealistic", according to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

A report detailed the impact of closing all coal-fired power stations by 2025, ageing nuclear stations stopping generating power, and growing demand for power.

The institution said the UK does not have the resources or the skilled workers to build the number of power stations needed.

The report's author, Dr Jenifer Baxter, said: "The UK is facing an electricity supply crisis. As the UK population rises and with the greater use of electricity use in transport and heating it looks almost certain that electricity demand is going to rise.

"However, with little or no focus on reducing electricity demand, the retirement of the majority of the country's ageing nuclear fleet, recent proposals to phase out coal-fired power by 2025 and the cut in renewable energy subsidies, the UK is on course to produce even less electricity than it does at the moment.

"We cannot rely on CCGTs alone to plug this gap, as we have neither the time, resources nor enough people with the right skills to build sufficient power plants. Electricity imports will put the UK's electricity supply at the mercy of the markets, weather and politics of other countries, making electricity less secure and less affordable.

"Currently there are insufficient incentives for companies to invest in any sort of electricity infrastructure or innovation and worryingly even the Government's own energy calculator does not allow for the scenarios that new energy policy points towards. Under current policy, it is almost impossible for UK electricity demand to be met by 2025."

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: "We are the first country to propose an end date to using unabated coal and we will do so in a way that maintains energy security, which comes first.

"New gas power stations are being built and we are investing in cleaner energy, such as nuclear and shale gas, to ensure hardworking families and businesses have secure, affordable energy supplies they can rely on now and in the future."

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