Ironbridge Power Station in Shropshire stops generating electricity

  • Published
Ironbridge power station
Image caption,
Work to decommission Shropshire's Ironbridge Power Station will continue until 2017

An historic power station has stopped generating electricity after more than 45 years of energy production.

Ironbridge Power Station, in Shropshire, opened in 1969 and became one of the UK's largest plants.

The power station was switched off on Friday afternoon, when it reached its 20,000 hours limit of generation under an EU directive.

About 130 workers are at the site, some of whom will be kept on until 2017 to help with the decommissioning process.

Former engineer Mike Smith pressed the button to end production.

Mr Smith, who started at the station when it first opened and retired from Ironbridge in 1992, said it was "a great honour" to have been involved with the plant.

Image source, E-On
Image caption,
An aerial view of the power station from 26 March 1968, before it was connected to the National Grid

"Obviously many people will have mixed emotions today, but I'm proud to have contributed to the success of a power station which has been at the cornerstone of energy generation and has supported the careers of many members of staff for so many years," he said.

Ironbridge Power Station: key facts

  • Building work began in 1962
  • The power station opened in 1969, with engineer Mike Smith connecting it to the National Grid
  • It provided power for the equivalent of 750,000 homes
  • Originally coal-fired, it converted to burning wood pellets in 2013
  • At its peak 400 people were employed there

A mosaic designed and created by pupils from St Martin's Modern School in Oswestry in 1966, which was displayed in the main conference room, will be returned to the school.

Image caption,
Ironbridge's cooling towers have become a well-known sight in Shropshire

No further decisions on the future of the site will be made until the decommissioning process is completed in 2017.

E-On chief executive Tony Cocker thanked workers at Ironbridge for keeping the power station operational for decades.

Image caption,
This mosaic made and designed by pupils from St Martin's Modern School in Oswestry in 1966 was displayed in Ironbridge's main conference room, and will be returned to the school

"The closure of such an iconic plant will of course be tinged with sadness having played such an important role in the community," he said.

"Our continued focus will be supporting those colleagues who are directly affected by today's closure."

Image caption,
Ironbridge Power Station on 15 September 1963, a year after building work had started

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