Scotland closed its last coal-fired power plant

Click to enlargeJeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Scotland may be home to golf, haggis, and Sean Connery — but it’s no longer hospitable to coal. On March 24, Scottish Power shut down Longanett power station, its last standing coal-fired power plant.

…The act of silencing the plant’s turbines was exactly what you might imagine — granted, it would probably never occur to you to imagine something like this, but if you were going to: A crowd gathered ’round a very retro control room as a man pressed a large, red button to the tune of an alarm sounding in the background.

Longanett power station provided electricity for Scottish lads and lasses for nearly half a century, but its days were fated to come to an end with the onset of a pricey carbon tax and, you know, the whole global decline of coal. The Guardian reports that a handful of straggling open-cast coal mines remain in Scotland, but Longanett was the last major coal user in the country.

Though the closing of the power station signals the end for some jobs, it’s accompanied by a wave of energy investment, including more than $900 million in offshore wind farms. By 2020, Scotland hopes to keep its 5 million residents humming on 100 percent clean energy.

Looks like coal power in Scotland is becoming almost as elusive as Nessie.

Har. Almost thought I saw Nessie once. Sitting by the River Ness north of the Loch. Sudden thrashing in the water 30 or 40 meters from where I sat. I was ready as anyone to be amazed. Rummaging in my pockets for my backpacking Rollei.

A lump rose up from the water. It was a sea lion with a salmon about 3 feet long gripped in its mouth. I laughed, I guess, in relief.

One thought on “Scotland closed its last coal-fired power plant

  1. Will B. says:

    The Scottish Parliament voted on Wednesday to support an outright ban on hydraulic fracturing in Scotland, making permanent a moratorium on the controversial extraction technique. With the intention of conducting full health and environmental impact assessments before continuing with all unconventional oil and gas extraction – including fracking – Scotland implemented a temporary halt to all such procedures in January 2015. Scottish Labour Party environment spokesperson, Claudia Beamish, said following the vote, “The SNP government must now clarify whether or not they will respect the will of parliament and introduce an outright ban on fracking. It would be outrageous for this important vote to be ignored.”

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