Cottam power stations

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Cottam power station
Harvesting in the shadow of the power station - - 209223.jpg
The power station, viewed from the north. July 2006.
Cottam power stations is located in Nottinghamshire
Cottam power stations
Location of Cottam power station in Nottinghamshire
Country England
Location Cottam
Coordinates 53°18′14″N 0°46′53″W / 53.304°N 0.7815°W / 53.304; -0.7815Coordinates: 53°18′14″N 0°46′53″W / 53.304°N 0.7815°W / 53.304; -0.7815
Status Operational
Operator(s) Central Electricity Generating Board
London Energy
Thermal power station
Primary fuel Coal
Secondary fuel Oil
Tertiary fuel Biomass
Power generation
Units operational 4
Make and model English Electric Co. Ltd.
Nameplate capacity 2,000 MW
grid reference NZ174644

The Cottam power stations are a pair of power stations, located on the River Trent at Cottam near Retford in Nottinghamshire. The larger of the two is a coal-fired power station, which was commissioned in 1969 by the Central Electricity Generating Board, and has a generating capacity of 2,000 megawatts (MW). It is now owned by EDF Energy.[1] The other is Cottam Development Centre, a combined cycle gas turbine plant commissioned in 1999, with a generating capacity of 400 MW. This plant is owned by E.ON UK.

The site is one of a number of power stations located along the Trent valley, with the West Burton power stations located 3.5 miles (5.6 km) downstream of the station, and Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station located 52 miles (84 km) upstream. The decommissioned High Marnham Power Station is located 6 miles (9.7 km) upstream.


Work commenced on site in April 1964 on the site of the old Mickleholme Farm by the Central Electricity Generating Board Midlands Region from Bournville. The railway to the site reopened in 1967.[2] The power station opened in 1969 when owned by the Central Electricity Generating Board. The main contractor for the construction of the 2,000 MW power station was Balfour Beatty with the coal plant being supplied by the New Conveyor Company of Smethwick. The station has steam supplied to its English Electric 500 MW steam turbines by John Thompson boilers. The maximum continuous rating of the boiler is 2,400 lb/ and 568 °C at the superheater. The modernist architects for the buildings on site were the Nottingham practice of Yorke Rosenberg Mardall. The architects applied a red colour ‘Cottam amber’ to the turbine/boiler house to blend with the local brickwork. The station was originally commissioned with 4 x 25 MW gas generators in addition to the steam ones these consisted of 8 Rolls-Royce Avon RA29 Stage 6A (1533) engines (2 per set) these were later decommissioned on the arrival of the new CCGT installation. After electricity privatisation in 1990, ownership was shifted to Powergen. In October 2000, the plant was sold to London Energy, who are part of EDF Energy, for £398 million.[3]

The commencement of works at Mickleholme Farm in April 1964

Cottam Development Centre[edit]

Cottam Development Centre in August 2007

The Cottam Development Centre is a 400 MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station, fuelled by natural gas. It was built as a joint venture between Powergen and Siemens, as a testbed for Siemens to develop CCGT technology.

Construction of the station commenced in July 1997 on a football and cricket pitch adjacent to the coal-fired power station. During construction, heavy components weighing up to 400 tonnes were brought onto site using inland waterways, to avoid damaging local roads.[4] The station opened in September 1999. In May 2002 the station was bought out by Powergen for £52 million.


The power station generates electricity using a single Siemens V94.3A (now called a SGT5-4000F), which has one BENSON heat recovery steam generator gas turbine and one steam turbine.[5][6] Electricity from the station has a terminal voltage of 21 kilovolts (kV), and enters the National Grid via a transformer at 400 kV. The plant has a thermal efficiency of 58%.[4]

Industrial action[edit]

2004 Wildcat strike[edit]

Wildcat strike action was taken in December 2004, when scaffolding collapsed and injured one worker.[7]

2006 Wildcat strike[edit]

In February 2006, 51 British workers at the station walked out on Wildcat strike action due to the underpayment of Hungarian workers during construction of Flue Gas Desulphurisation equipment. The Hungarians had worse working conditions than the British workers and were underpaid £1 million by employer SFL. 15 British workers who walked out in solidarity were made redundant.[7]


  1. ^ "Power Station Locations and Capacities". United Kingdom Quality Ash Association. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Modern Railways September 1966 p. 506
  3. ^ "Powergen generates £398m from Cottam". The Telegraph (London). 17 October 2000. Retrieved 2 August 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "Cottam Development Centre" (ASP). E.On UK. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "SGT5-4000F". Siemens. Retrieved 2 August 2008. 
  6. ^ "BENSON HRSG". Siemens. Retrieved 2 August 2008. 
  7. ^ a b Steven (1 March 2006). "UK: Cottam power station wildcat strike". Retrieved 2 November 2009. 

External links[edit]