Farewell Didcot power station

Early on Sunday morning, a demolition team brought down the Didcot power station cooling towers. It’ll take a while to dismantle the whole site, but it’s a symbolic moment. The towers were a notorious local eyesore, and the community will be glad to see them gone. But it’s also good news for air quality and the atmosphere.

In 2001 the EU brought in the Large Combustion Plant Directive, a piece of legislation designed to curb the most polluting power stations. Power stations with excessive suphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions would either need to be retro-fitted to scrub the emissions, or close by 2015. Didcot’s owners, Npower, chose to close it down rather than invest in it, and it was disconnected from the grid last year. It is one of several coal power stations to have closed over the last few years, including Kingsnorth and Tilbury.

These closures are due to air pollution rules, not climate change legislation. Most of our coal power stations remain open, and coal power remains the biggest contributor to Britain’s electricity mix. Of the 30 dirtiest coal power stations in Europe, 9 are in Britain. There is a long way to go.

For today however, let’s just enjoy watching a coal power station being blown up.




3 Comments on “Farewell Didcot power station”

  1. henry1941 July 28, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    I remember it being built. A right eyesore. But if it means people having to sit in the cold in future winters they might not be so pleased.

    • Jeremy Williams July 29, 2014 at 9:15 am #

      Indeed, but we’ve had 15 years to plan for its obsolescence, so there’s no excuse really.

      Incidentally, I did find myself asking a question about those cooling towers – wasn’t there any way to recover and use that heat? Certainly in winter, it seems a real shame to have such large scale structures dedicated to losing heat.


  1. Can you have pretty power stations? | Make Wealth History - June 9, 2015

    […] ugly, and are therefore resented by local people, however necessary they may be. Last year we saw the people of Didcot turn out to cheer as the cooling towers of their old power station were dynamited. As James Howard Kunstler argues, […]

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