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GMB: coal is needed to keep the UK’s lights on

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World Coal,

GMB, the union for energy and engineering construction workers, commented on SSE’s announcement that it is entering into consultation with workers at Fiddler's Ferry coal-fired power plant, Cheshire, on closing three of the four units at the plant.

Albie McGuigan, GMB Regional Officer, said: "Last week 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.”

He continued: “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.”

McGuigan emphasised the consequences of closing coal facilities, such as Fiddleer’s Ferry, should be considered; it could leave a large energy gap. McGuigan pointed out there almost no new construction of any “sustainable replacement capacity, such as gas-fired CCGT’s,” new nuclear facilities are at least another ten years away and wind – reliant on weather – “could not sustain the needs for London let alone the UK.”

McGuigan believes there is much to learn from the 4 November 2015 when the National Grid had to raise special measures to keep the lights on – on not a particularly cold day and before nine power plants were closed in 2016.? He stressed: “there should be a U turn. Government should not allow the closure of this power station until new capacity is on stream to keep the lights on.”

Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs

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