REFILE-RWE to close oil-fired power plant in southern England next year

Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:30am EDT

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(Replaces dot with comma in megawatt figure in paragraph 8)

LONDON, April 30 (Reuters) - Utility RWE said it would close a 1,140 megawatt oil-fired power station in Kent, southern England at the end of March 2015, among a number of older British plants to close because of EU environmental law.

Britain is at risk of a power capacity crunch in the 2020s as nuclear stations come to the end of their life and coal and gas plants shut because they cannot afford to add technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to comply with EU laws.

RWE said the Littlebrook Power Station had opted out of the European Union's Large Combustion Plant Directive, which means it must close in 2015, or after 20,000 hours of operation.

The directive is aimed at reducing emissions from power stations, petroleum refineries and other industrial processes that run on solid, liquid or gaseous fuel.

"RWE has invested more than 6 billion pounds into new power stations to more than replace the generating capacity of these older stations due to close," Roger Miesen, chief technical officer at RWE Hard Coal, Gas, Biomass, said in a statement on Wednesday.

"But I'd like to pay tribute to this station and the people that have worked here helping to keep the lights on across London for so many years," he added.

The plant, which is around 40 years old, has played a role in providing electricity to London during times of peak demand. It hit a record for electricity generation during the British miners' strike during the UK miners' strike of 1984-85.

Other oil-fired plants set to close after opting out of the EU directive include E.ON's 1,380 MW Isle of Grain plant and RWE's 1,000 MW Fawley plant in Hampshire.

RWE said three open-cycle gas turbines located on the Littlebrook site, each capable of generating 35 MW, will continue to operate. (Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by Jane Baird)

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