Chimneys felled with an eye on the future

Patrick Gouldsbrough
August 24, 2021

Residents who live near Ferrybridge Power Station got to witness a “poignant moment in history” on Sunday, August 22, after a set of 200-metre chimney stacks were blown up at the energy facility.

Crowds from nearby houses and other visitors gathered around the power station, as COP26 president Alok Sharma got the opportunity to hit the detonation button, marking a milestone moment in the global movement to ‘power past coal’.

The decision to knock down parts of the power station comes several years after several cooling towers were demolished on the same site, while four cooling towers were also demolished from Eggborough Power Station last month. Through the destruction of these energy assets, the government is trying to move to greener solutions, when it comes to powering the country. SSE, who owns the power station, closed the former coal-fired facility at Ferrybridge in 2016, having produced electricity at the site for over 50 years. In June, the UK Government announced that Great Britain will no longer use coal for energy generation from October 2024, a year earlier than previously planned. SSE’s principal contractor Keltbray carried out the blowdown using controlled explosives, with a 250-metre exclusion zone being put in place to ensure safety. In addition, nearby homes were evacuated for a short time on Sunday morning, with SSE and Keltbray engaging with residents throughout.

As an alternative to coal-fired, SSE is progressing plans in Keadby, North Lincolnshire, for one of the UK’s first power stations equipped with carbon capture technology at the site by 2027, as well as the world’s first major 100 per cent hydrogen-fired power station by the end of the decade. The plan is to locate these power stations on the same site as SSE’s under-construction Keadby 2, which uses technology already capable of blending low-carbon hydrogen and will be Europe’s most efficient power station.

SSE group energy and commercial director, Martin Pibworth, said: “As the UK continues to lead the way in powering past coal, we must be investing in low-carbon alternatives to provide the flexible power generation needed to continue to enable a renewables-led energy system. “At Keadby, we’re developing cutting-edge CCS and hydrogen solutions to address this underlying challenge, while also supporting the decarbonisation of heavy industry and other hard-to-reach sectors across the region.”

During the destruction of the power station. Image: SSE. (26-08-124 SU)

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