CORRECTED-EDF may close two British coal plants by end-2023

Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:37am EST

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(Corrects location, paragraph eight)

LONDON Jan 29 (Reuters) - EDF said on Wednesday it may close two huge coal-fired power plants in Britain by the end of 2023 as it is still deciding whether to invest in technology to allow the stations to comply with tighter European pollution laws.

EDF Energy has to decide whether to install emissions-reducing technology at its 2,000-megawatt (MW) Cottam and West Burton A coal-fired power plants by Jan. 1, 2016. Both started operating in 1970.

Fitting cleaner technology would allow the plants to operate beyond the end of 2023.

The EU-wide Industrial Emissions Directive, which will come into force in 2016, imposes limits on emissions of climate-harming gases and tightens existing legislation.

"EDF Energy continues to explore various options to address the commercial, technical, environmental and regulatory challenges that legislation presents for existing coal powers stations after 2016," EDF Energy said in a statement.

Rival utilities SSE and RWE npower have decided to close some plants by the end of 2023.

All companies can decide before the start of 2016 to retrofit their plants in order to run them longer.

The Cottam and West Burton power plants are located in the north of England. (Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by Jason Neely)

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