German electric utility company RWE is set to reduce operations and production at its 1.6GW Aberthaw coal-fired power plant in Wales.
Effective from 1 April 2017, Aberthaw will only produce electricity when needed. The company will supply power to the transmission system operator National Grid when power supplies are tightest, such as during winters.
This measure has been taken as a result of challenging market conditions for coal-fired power generation in the country.
RWE said: "We are working to secure the future operations of Aberthaw Power Station. We must however recognise that the current market for energy generation remains extremely challenging and demand for coal generation over the coming years is expected to be low compared to recent times. Against this backdrop we have to make decisions to future-proof our operations.
"Today we have announced a change to our operating regime, which will focus on ensuring secure capacity is available when needed but with lower energy generation operations."
The reduction in power generation will result in a number of job losses. It comes in response to the UK Government’s decision to close all coal-fired plants by the middle of the next decade.
As part of its commitment to further reduce emissions and increase fuel diversity, RWE said that a new technology will enable all three of the station’s 500MW units to expand the range of coal that can be used.
While the technology will ensure full compliance with the company’s future emissions obligations, it will also enable the safe and efficient burning of higher volatile coal, while maintaining the capability to burn Welsh low-volatile coal.
It will also help provide a 30% reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from burning higher volatile fuels.
Image: Aberthaw coal-fired power plant. Photo: courtesy of Chris Bell.