Cockenzie power station

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Cockenzie power station is a power station in Cockenzie and Port Seton, East Lothian, Scotland, United Kingdom with multiple units of varying statuses none of which are currently operating.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Cockenzie power station Cockenzie and Port Seton, East Lothian, Scotland, United Kingdom 55.968323, -2.972481 (exact)

The map below shows the exact location of the power station.

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, Unit 4: 55.968323, -2.972481
  • Unit New Plant: 55.967518, -2.967042

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year Retired year
Unit 1 retired coal - bituminous 326 subcritical 1967 2013
Unit 2 retired coal - bituminous 326 subcritical 1967 2013
Unit 3 retired coal - bituminous 326 subcritical 1967 2013
Unit 4 retired coal - bituminous 326 subcritical 1969 2013
Unit New Plant cancelled coal - bituminous 1152 supercritical 2011

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner
Unit 1 ScottishPower Ltd [100.0%]
Unit 2 ScottishPower Ltd [100.0%]
Unit 3 ScottishPower Ltd [100.0%]
Unit 4 ScottishPower Ltd [100.0%]
Unit New Plant ScottishPower Ltd [100.0%]

Background on existing plant

Cockenzie power station is a subcritical 4 x 300 MW coal plant that began operating in 1967-1969. Initially operated by the nationalized South of Scotland Electricity Board, it was operated by Scottish Power following the privatization of the industry in 1991. In 2005, a World Wide Fund for Nature report named Cockenzie as the UK's least carbon-efficient power station, in terms of carbon dioxide released per unit of energy generated.[1]

Large Combustion Plant Directive

In November 2001 the European Union's Large Combustion Plant Directive came into force. The Directive aims to reduce emissions of "acidifying pollutants, particles, and ozone precursors" in order to "combat acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone". The Directive regulates emissions from combustion plants with a thermal capacity of greater than 50 megawatts.[2]

In the United Kingdom, the implementation of the Large Combustion Plant Directive requires that plants either install flue gas de-sulphurisation (FGD) equipment or 'opt out' and shut down when they have run for an additional 20,000 hours between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2015 or at the end of 2015. (Note: the total number of hours in a year is 8,760.)

The Cockenzie Power Station is a plant which Scottish Power have decided to 'op out' of upgrading and, as of January 2012, had been run for over 80% of its allowable hours.[3]


The plant ceased generating electricity from coal on March 15, 2013.[4]

However, the plant is being converted to natural gas, as first announced in 2011 (see details below).[5]

Proposed new coal power station

A new 1,152 megawatt (MW) supercritical coal plant - to be built at the existing Cockenzie plant - was proposed by Scottish Power in May 2007,[6] [7] with a commissioning date of 2012.[8]

According to Reed Business Information, Scottish Power stated that Alstom Power and Doosan Babcock would "provide design input for the proposed supercritical turbines and boilers, which would be housed in the existing power station buildings." It was proposed that the plant incorporate carbon capture and storage technology.[8]

Coal dropped, gas approved

In October 2011 Scottish Power announced that plans for the establishment of a new 1000 MW gas-fired plant at the site had been approved, to replace the coal-fired station.[9]

Articles and Resources


  1. Stevens, Charlie (13 July 2005). "Hazelwood tops international list of dirty power stations". WWF. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  2. "Large Combustion Plants Directive", European Commission, October 2012.
  3. "Opted Out plants 1 January 2012", European Environment Agency, October 2012. See Sheet 17, identified in the tabs at the foot of the Excel spreadhseet as "UK").
  4. Scottish Power, "End Of An Era For Cockenzie Power Station – 45 Years Of Electricity Generation Comes To A Close", Media Release, March 15, 2013.
  5. "Scotland: Cockenzie Coal Power Station To Be Replaced with a High Efficiency Gas Station" eGove monitor, October 5, 2011.
  6. Scottish Power, "ScottishPower Plans Europe's Biggest Clean Coal Project", Media Release, May 17, 2007.
  7. James Richens, "King coal promises to clean up", ENDS Report 396, January 2008, pp 26-29.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Scottish Power plans supercritical conversion for coal-fired plants", May 17, 2007.
  9. "Planning Consent for Cockenzie Combined Cycle Gas Turbine Power Station", Media Release, October 5, 2011.

Additional data

To access additional data, including an interactive map of coal-fired power stations, a downloadable dataset, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.