LONDON, June 11 RWE npower's Aberthaw
power plant in Wales, one of Britain's biggest coal-fired
stations, could close by 2016 as it may not comply with the
European Union's latest pollution rules.
The power station, which supports thousands of jobs in the
local coal industry, has been allowed to continue operating
under an existing EU pollution law even though it produces more
harmful gases than other power plants.
But a new pollution law, called the Industrial Emissions
Directive (IED), coming into force in 2016, will require
Aberthaw to comply with the same pollution standards as other
plants. This could force the plant to close unless the
government can renew its higher emissions threshold agreement
with the European Commission.
Aberthaw was previously granted a higher emissions limit
because it is designed to use a locally-mined type of coal that
is more difficult to burn.
"We are working to ensure that Aberthaw Power Station will
be able to operate compliantly into the 2020s," a spokeswoman
from plant operator RWE npower said.
"However, key pieces of energy policy, such as the treatment
of Aberthaw under the Industrial Emissions Directive, now need
to be urgently clarified for us to make these
significant investment decisions," she said.
The government said it could not comment on the case due to
a confidentiality agreement with the European Commission.
"If the investments cannot be secured then plant closure can
be expected as soon as 2016 with resultant severe impacts to the
Welsh coal industry, RWE support staff and other large
industrial units dependent on that industry," trade union GMB
said in a statement.
RWE npower chose earlier this year to run Aberthaw under the
"Limited Lifetime Derogation" of the IED which requires
polluting power plants to shut down by the end of 2023 at the
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps. Editing by Jane Merriman)