Blackburn Meadows Power Station

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Blackburn Meadows power station
Official nameBlackburn Meadows power station
CountryEngland, United Kingdom
LocationSheffield, South Yorkshire
Coordinates53°25′05″N 1°24′17″W / 53.418109°N 1.404847°W / 53.418109; -1.404847Coordinates: 53°25′05″N 1°24′17″W / 53.418109°N 1.404847°W / 53.418109; -1.404847
Construction began2011
Commission date2014
Owner(s)E.ON UK
Operator(s)E.ON UK
Thermal power station
Primary fuelBiomass
Power generation
Nameplate capacity30 MW
External links
CommonsRelated media on Commons

Blackburn Meadows power station is a biomass power station situated at Blackburn Meadows on the River Don, between Sheffield and Rotherham in South Yorkshire, England. Operated by E.ON UK, it was opened in 2014 and has an operating capacity of 30 megawatts.

The biomass plant was built on the site of a former coal-fired power station which closed in 1980. The coal power station on the site was most well known for its two cooling towers, which remained standing for nearly thirty years after closure, forming a landmark along the M1 motorway in Sheffield and coming to be known as the Tinsley Towers, after the district of the city in which they are located. They were demolished by controlled explosion on 24 August 2008.

Coal-fired power station[edit]

Blackburn Meadows power station (1921–1980)
Blackburn Meadows cooling towers - - 37873.jpg
The cooling towers of the old coal-fired power station standing before their demolition.
CountryUnited Kingdom
Coordinates53°25′05″N 1°24′17″W / 53.4181°N 1.4048°W / 53.4181; -1.4048
Commission date1921
Decommission date1980
Operator(s)E.ON UK
Thermal power station
Primary fuelCoal
Power generation
Nameplate capacity72 MW
External links
CommonsRelated media on Commons

The first power station on the site was built in 1921 by the Sheffield Corporation, to support the steel industry in the Lower Don Valley. The station was expanded in the 1930s. Hyperboloid cooling towers 6 and 7 were constructed between 1937 and 1938, replacing earlier square cooling towers. They were designed by LG Mouchell and Partners. The station was nationalised after the Second World War and operated by the Central Electricity Generating Board.[1] It had a generating capacity of 72 megawatts and was closed on 27 October 1980.[2]

Most of the station was demolished following the closure, but two of the cooling towers were left standing until August 2008.

Tinsley Towers[edit]

Demolition of Tinsley cooling towers on 24 August 2008

For safety reasons the Tinsley cooling towers could not easily be demolished, and were left standing unused for a further 27 years after closure of the station. Positioned directly alongside the major motorway bridge, Tinsley viaduct, the towers were an iconic landmark for the area, particularly due to their prominence when viewed from the M1 motorway. There was a campaign to save the towers from demolition with proposals to turn them into a giant art installation.[3]

The two 250 ft (76 m) towers were demolished at 03:00 on 24 August 2008. However a significant portion of the north tower remained standing for a short while, which had to be destroyed manually.[4]

Biomass power station[edit]

Plans to construct a new biomass power station on the site were finalised in late 2011. The project was estimated to cost £120 million, and to be completed in 2014. It would generate 30 megawatts of electricity, employing around 30 people, and work began in November 2011.[5] The plant, which is operated by E.ON UK, was commissioned in the summer of 2014, and power is generated by burning waste wood, sourced from the United Kingdom. Waste heat from the process is captured and used to provide a district heating scheme. E.ON have created a community benefits fund, which will be used to support local projects while the plant is operational, and this will include the building of a visitor centre to explain the energy generation process and to interpret the industrial heritage of the location.[6]


  1. ^ E Branse-Instone (16 February 2006). "Advisers Report" (PDF). English Heritage. Retrieved 23 November 2008.
  2. ^ Mr. Redmond (16 January 1984). "Coal-fired Power Stations". Hansard. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  3. ^ Topping, Alexandra (2 April 2008). "Crushing disappointment". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Blast demolishes landmark towers". BBC News. BBC. 24 August 2008. Retrieved 24 August 2008.
  5. ^ "Plans for £120m Sheffield biomass power plant unveiled". BBC News. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Blackburn Meadows Renewable Energy CHP Plant". E.ON. Retrieved 26 November 2016.