Kingsnorth power station

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Kingsnorth Power Station was a 2,000-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station in Kent, UK. It ceased operation in 2012.

A 1600-megawatt (MW) expansion of the power station was proposed in 2006 and cancelled in 2010.


The undated satellite photo below shows the power station located on the Medway Estuary in Kent.

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Background on existing plant

The 4 x 500 subcritical power station was commissioned in 1970. It is owned and operated by E.ON UK. Each of its four main units can be fired with either coal or oil.[1][2]

Large Combustion Plant Directive

As a result of the European Union Large Combustion Plant Directive the four existing units of this power station will be closed. However, under the directive legislation Units 1 to 4 can operate for a maximum of 20,000 hours from January 2008 and, at the latest, must be shut down by 2015. E.ON UK propose that the existing units would only be shut down after the commissioning of two new 800 megawatt 'supercritical' coal-fired units.[3] The station's closure is planned for March 2013.[4]


The power station ceased generating electricity on December 17, 2012, after having used it allotted 20,000 hours of generation after opting out of the European Union Large Combustion Directive.[5]


Activist shuts down Kingsnorth Power Station

On November 28, 2008, in full view of security cameras, a single activist climbed two 10-foot, razor-wired and electrified security fences at E.ON's coal-fired power plant and crashed a huge 500MW turbine, leaving behind a banner that read "no new coal." All power from the plant was down for four hours, which cut the UK's CO2 emissions by an estimated 2 percent. Police are still searching for the activist.[6]

10 activists board ship delivering coal to Kingsnorth Station

On June 21, 2009, ten Greenpeace activists boarded a ship delivering coal to the Kingsnorth Power Station. The group used inflatable speedboats to target the boat as it sailed up the River Medway in Kent. All 10 protesters were arrested and charged with conspiring to commit criminal damage and having an unauthorized presence on a ship.[7]

Proposed power station expansion

(For more details of E.ON's now cancelled proposal for a 1600 megawatt supercritical coal power station at the site of the existing plant, please see Kingsnorth Power Station (Proposed).)

Kingsnorth Power Station (Proposed) was a proposed 1600-megawatt (MW) supercritical coal power station[8] at the site of the existing Kingsnorth Power Station, proposed by owner E.ON UK.

In October 2006, E.ON UK announced plans to build two new 800 megawatt 'supercritical' coal units at the power station (Units 5 and 6) at an estimated cost of £1 billion. In its announcement E.ON stated that the new units "could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 1.8m tonnes a year" compared to the existing plants and that they "will operate at an efficiency of 45% and above, compared to the existing units’ efficiency of around 36%."[9]

On December 11, 2006 E.ON formally submitted an application for the project to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.[10]

Carbon capture and storage

In late March 2008 E.ON UK requested that a decision on its application for Kingsnorth be delayed until the completion of the government's consultation on Carbon Capture and Storage. E.ON has touted that the Kingsnorth plant would be 'carbon capture-ready' and has been shortlisted as one of four contenders in a competitive bid to build a government-funded CCS demonstration plant. On March 31 E.ON UK simultaneously announced that it would be be an entrant in the Government's carbon capture and storage (CCS) competition and that it was requesting that the decision on Kingsnorth be suspended. In a media release, E.ON UK stated that it wanted the application deferred until the completion of the competition "when we will all know exactly what is required by the Government for a station to be deemed CCS-ready."[11]


A coalition of community groups publicly opposed the proposed new coal-fired units for Kingsnorth. They point out that if Kingsnorth is built it will be the first coal-fired power station built in the United Kingdom in 20 years and would be the first of seven new stations. "The 50 million tonnes of CO2 that would be emitted each year from these plants will wipe out any chance the UK has of cutting its emissions by more than 40 per cent by 2020 or more than 80 per cent by 2050 as scientists say is needed," according to the World Development Movement. "In addition to locking us into high carbon electricity generation for decades, the UK will lose all political and moral authority when calling for other nations not to build new coal power stations."[12]

Project cancelled

In October 2010, E.ON said the economic conditions were not right for the company to continue pursuing the project. E.ON's decision left just one contender in the competition: Longannet entered by a consortium led by Iberdrola-owned Scottish Power. The government insisted the project will go ahead in spite of the withdrawal of E.ON, although £1bn announced by Chancellor George Osborne is expected to pay for just one demonstrator plant rather than the four industry had hoped for. The validation project is likely to cost £500m to build and £500m to operate, said Professor Stuart Haszeldine, FRSE, Professor of Carbon Capture and Storage and Geology at the University of Edinburgh.[13]

Project Details of proposed power station

  • Sponsor: E.ON UK
  • Parent company:
  • Developer:
  • Location: Medway, Kent, UK
  • Coordinates: 51.416713,0.603039 (exact)
  • Status: Cancelled
  • Capacity: 1600 MW total
    • Unit 5: 800 MW
    • Unit 6: 800 MW
  • Type: Supercritical
  • Start date:
  • Coal Type: Hard coal
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing:

E.ON's In-House Media Managers

Citizens Groups Campaigning on Kingsnorth

Articles and Resources


  1. E.ON, "Kingsnorth", E.ON website, accessed June 2008.
  2. Power Technology, "Proposed Replacement Coal-fired Units for Kingsnorth Power Station: Environmental Statement", E.ON UK, page 222.
  3. Power Technology, "Proposed Replacement Coal-fired Units for Kingsnorth Power Station: Environmental Statement", E.ON UK, page 24.
  4. "German utility to close 2 highly polluting power plants in U.K.," Reuters, Sep. 18, 2012.
  5. E.ON UK, "Kingsnorth coal-fired power station ends commercial generation and will close by 31st March 2013", Media Release, December 17, 2012.
  6. "No new coal - the calling card of the 'green Banksy' who breached fortress Kingsnorth," The Guardian, December 11, 2008.
  7. "Protesters leave coal cargo ship," BBC News, June 22, 2009.
  8. James Richens, "King coal promises to clean up", ENDS Report 396, January 2008, pp 26-29.
  9. E.ON UK, "E.ON UK applies to build new £1bn supercritical coal-fired power units in Kent", Media Release, October 11, 2006.
  10. Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, "Applications Under Consideration", Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform website, accessed July 2008.
  11. E.ON UK, "E.ON enters UK Government's carbon capture and storage competition", March 31, 2008.
  12. World Development Movement, "Stop Kingsnorth: No new coal-fired power stations", February 2008.
  13. Sylvia Pfeifer and Fiona Harvey, "Competition for carbon capture project to go ahead" Financial Times, October 20, 2010.

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