Ferrybridge-C power station

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Ferrybridge-C Power Station was a 2,000 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station owned by Scottish and Southern in Knottingley, West Yorkshire. The coal-fired power station was retired in March 2016.[1]

A supercritical coal-fired power station was proposed at the site but was cancelled. In addition, a 2,200 MW combined cycle gas plant was proposed but appears to be shelved.


The undated satellite photo below shows the power station in Knottingley, West Yorkshire.

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Background on Ferrybridge C coal plant

The 4 x 500 MW subcritical coal-fired power station was commissioned in 1966.[2]

Scottish and Southern Energy have decided to retire the plant by 2015 rather than upgrade pollution controls to meet the requirements of the European Union Large Combustion Plant Directive. 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.)

Scottish and Southern Energy have decided to 'opt out' the Ferrybridge C power station. As of January 2012, the plant had 8326 hours of its 20,000 operating hours remaining.[3] However, Scottish and Southern Energy give no indication in their 2012 annual report when the plant is likely to be closed.[4]

In March 2013, SSE announced that Units 1 & 2 "are both currently expected to reach their 20,000 allowed operating hours limit before the end of 2013/14 financial year. Each unit will cease operation immediately and permanently once the allowed hours limit has been reached. SSE will therefore notify National Grid that it will be releasing around 1,000MW of electricity Transmission Entry Capacity (TEC) at this site from 31 March 2014."[5]

Units 3 & 4 at Ferrybridge have been retrofitted with Flue-gas Desulphurisation (FGD) technology to enable them to comply with the European Union Large Combustion Plant Directive. SSE states that "they have also been opted-in to the Transitional National Plan under the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) which provides a number of alternative options for how they will operate through to at least the end of June 2020. SSE has not made a decision on how the plant will operate and this will depend on market conditions and the effects of any future capacity mechanism."[5]


In May 2015, SSE said it planned to close Ferrybridge Power Station by March 31, 2016. Costs at the 48-year-old power station had been rising due its age and environmental legislation, and it is forecast to lose £100m over the next five years.[6]

Proposed supercritical power station

Ferrybridge Power Station was an 800 megawatt supercritical coal plant proposed by Scottish and Southern Energy to be built at the site of the existing Ferrybridge C Power Station. In early 2008 there was no known notional commissioning date.[7]

In October 2007, Scottish and Southern Energy unveiled its future generation plans. In particular it stated that:[8]

"In May 2006, SSE established a partnership with Doosan Babcock Energy, Siemens and UK Coal with a view to the possible installation at Ferrybridge of a 500MW Supercritical Boiler and Steam Turbine, while re-employing existing coal handling facilities and other major infrastructure. As stated in SSE’s Preliminary Results in May 2007, however, costs across the power equipment sector have risen and the required level of investment for this project has proved to be significantly greater than originally expected. Against this background, SSE will not proceed with this project.
At the same time, SSE concluded that there is still likely to be a need to replace that capacity at Ferrybridge, which is scheduled to close in 2015. It has decided to examine the options for doing this, focusing on an 800MW unit using the Supercritical Boiler technology. This would secure a significant improvement in the thermal efficiency, from around 37% for the existing plant to around 45%, and deliver a significant reduction in the amount of CO2 per kilowatt hour of electricity produced. Any plant would also be made ‘capture ready’, enabling it to be fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. Key issues in considering the options will include the price of carbon emissions allowances and the availability of turbines. As a result, any new coal plant was unlikely to be commissioned before 2014, with a decision to be made around the turn of the decade. SSE will now focus on gaining consent for this unit."

Since its 2007 announcement, SSE has taken no apparent steps to develop the 800 MW plant that it described in its October 1, 2007 press release. Rather, the company has sought to develop a 90 MW plant at the Ferrybridge location that would use a combination of municipal solid waste (MSW), commercial and industrial waste, and waste wood.[9]

On 31 October 2011, SSE was granted Section 36 planning permission to construct a 68 MW Multifuel plant at its Ferrybridge C Power Station site.[10] The 68 MW plant was designed to burn mixed fuel including biomass, fuel from waste and waste wood. The plant became operational in 2015.[11]

In late 2013, consultations began for a second multifuel plant "Ferrybridge Multifuel 2" (FM2). The plant was initially specified to be similar in scale to the first plant and to have a capacity of up to 90 MW.[12][13]

Ferrybridge D gas plant

In 2018, SSE Generation Limited began a consultation process to build a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power station on land at the existing Ferrybridge ‘C’ Power Station Site.[14] The project, known as Ferrybridge 'D' CCGT Project, will have a generating capacity of 2,200 megawatts and will be powered by natural gas taken from the National Transmission System.[15]

As of April 2021 SSE has not formally applied for a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the Secretary of State and remains in the pre-application stage.[16] They also did not submit the plant for government subsidies in the latest T-4 Capacity Market auction.[17] Given the lack of the activity since 2019 the gas plant project is presumed to be shelved.

Project Details of Ferrybridge D

  • Sponsor: SSE Generation Limited (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy)
  • Parent company: SSE Generation Limited
  • Location: Knottingley, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, UK
  • Coordinates: 53.71648,-1.281743 (exact)
  • Gross generating capacity (shelved): 2,200 MW
    • Unit 1: Gas-fired combined-cycle: 1,100 MW (start-up year not available)
    • Unit 2: Gas-fired combined-cycle: 1,100 MW (start-up year not available)

Articles and Resources


  1. "Rapid decline of coal use leads to drop in UK emissions," Guardian, Mar 31, 2016
  2. Department of Energy and Climate Change, "Power stations in the United Kingdom, May 2012", Department of Energy and Climate Change, May 2012. (This link is to an Excel spreadsheet).
  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 and Southern Energy, 2012 Annual Report, Scottish and Southern Energy, May 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Scottish and Southern Energy, "Review of thermal generation operations", Media Release, March 21, 2013.
  6. "SSE Announces Closure of Ferrybridge Power Station," SSE website, May 20, 2015
  7. James Richens, "King coal promises to clean up", ENDS Report 396, January 2008, pp 26-29.
  8. Scottish and Southern Energy, "SSE Statement of Generation Plans and Notification of Close Period", Media Release, October 1, 2007.
  9. "SCOPING OPINION: Proposed Ferrybridge Multifuel 2 Power Station (FM2)," Planning Inspectorate, July 2013
  10. "(Decision letter) – Application for consent to construct and operate a multi-fuel generating station at Ferrybridge 'C' power station" (PDF). Department of Energy and Climate Change. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  11. "New multi-fuel facility at Ferrybridge to create jobs". BBC News – Leeds and West Yorkshire. 2 April 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  12. "Consultation begins for second multifuel power station at Ferrybridge". Goole Courier. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  13. "Ferrybridge Multifuel 2 (FM2) Power Station". The Planning Inspectorate. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  14. Ferrybridge ‘D’ CCGT, West Yorkshire, DWD, accessed Apr 14, 2021
  15. Ferrybridge D CCGT, SSE Generation Limited, accessed Nov 2019
  16. Generating Stations: Ferrybridge D Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) Power Station Project, UK National Infrastructure Planning, accessed Apr 14, 2021
  17. Capacity Market Register 2024-25 (T-4) - 13_04_2021, Electricity Market Reform Delivery Body, Apr 13, 2021

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