Multi-million pound plans which would have secured Rugeley Power Station’s long-term future have been scrapped, it can today be revealed.
The coal plant was to be converted to a biomass energy generator to make it more environmentally-friendly and safeguard 170 jobs while creating hundreds of temporary roles.
But GDF SUEZ, which runs the power station, has confirmed it had abandoned the scheme.
Questions over the power station’s future in the town have now been raised by a senior town councillor.
Town council vice-chairman Mick Grocott said: “The biomass scheme was very welcome as it was going to prolong the lifespan of the power station but now it is not going ahead it makes me question how longer they will continue.
“Local people felt the plans had added a good degree of job security but now we don’t know what is in store for its long-term future. We’re not producing coal so they have to bring it in, so you do think where does the future lie?”
When the proposed works were announced last year they were heralded as a ‘shot in the arm’ for the town. Plans said the scheme would have protected 170 jobs and created up to 500 temporary positions.
The project would have meant the station would have been primarily burning bio fuels more than coal for the first time, requiring three million tons of biomass being transported to the site each year with 61 train deliveries per week, rising from 26.
The development was in response to the Government’s target to increase renewable energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
It would have used the existing power plant facilities and all new equipment required for the conversion would have been located within the existing 372-acre site.
A statement on the company’s website said: “After careful consideration GDF SUEZ has decided not to proceed with the Rugeley Biomass project.
“Rugeley will remain a key coal generator within the UK energy supply market.”
It comes after the power station was sold as part of a £6 billion company takeover.
GDF said it wanted International Power because it will help build its exposure to fast-growing markets in South America, the Middle East, South-East Asia and Australia.
Rugeley Power Station B opened in 1963 after being commissioned by the state-run Central Electricity Generating Board.