After 115 Years, Scotland Is Coal-Free | ThinkProgress

The power station, the last and largest coal-fired power plant in Scotland, ceased operations Thursday. What once was the largest coal plant in Europe shut down after 46 years before the eyes of workers and journalists, who gathered in the main control room.


“Ok, here we go,” said one worker moments before pressing a bright red button that stopped the coal-fired turbines that generated electricity for a quarter of Scottish homes.


Longannet’s closure comes as Scotland, a country of some 5 million people, aims to have enough renewable energy to power 100 percent of its electricity demand by 2020. And while Europe has lowered its investment in renewables recently, Scotland seems well on its way to meeting its green energy goals. Renewable electricity output has more than doubled since 2007 and is equivalent to half of the electricity consumed. This surge in renewables follows a massive investment in onshore and offshore wind, which has established Scotland as a renewable energy leader in the region. In fact, Scotland’s largest wind farm is also the largest in the United Kingdom. Whitelee Windfarm near Glasgow has a 539-megawatt capacity and generates enough electricity to power just under 300,000 homes.


The end of Longannet was long expected. Two years ago, Scottish Power, which owns Longannet, said regulations made the plant too costly to operate. According to the Guardian, the plant bowed to a mixture of old age, rising transmission costs and higher carbon taxes. The energy burden will now fall on the shoulders of nuclear and gas plants, as well as renewable energy, particularly wind farms.


Here’s the moment Longannet power station was shut down today marking the end of coal-fired generation in Scotland — ScottishPower (@ScottishPower) March 24, 2016



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