Rugeley power stations

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Rugeley B Power Station
Rugeley Power station - - 38807.jpg
Rugeley B power station viewed in May 2001
Rugeley power stations is located in Staffordshire
Rugeley power stations
Location of Rugeley power stations
Coordinates52°45′22″N 1°54′58″W / 52.756°N 1.916°W / 52.756; -1.916Coordinates: 52°45′22″N 1°54′58″W / 52.756°N 1.916°W / 52.756; -1.916
Construction began1965
Commission date1970-72
Decommission date8 June 2016
Thermal power station
Primary fuelCoal
Power generation
Nameplate capacity1,000 MW
grid reference SK056177
Rugeley power station A
Rugeley Power station - - 38807.jpg
Construction began1956
Commission date1 October 1963 (1963-10-01)
Thermal power station
Primary fuelCoal
Power generation
Nameplate capacity600 MW

The Rugeley power stations were a series of two coal-fired power stations located on the River Trent at Rugeley in Staffordshire. The first power station on the site, Rugeley A power station was opened in 1961, but has since been closed and demolished. Rugeley B power station was commissioned in 1970 and closed on 8 June 2016. It had an output of 1,000 megawatts (MW) and had a 400 kilovolt (kV) connection to the national grid. The B station provided enough electricity to power roughly half a million homes.[1]


Rugeley Power Station viewed from Cannock Chase in 2010

Construction of the A station started in 1956.[2] The station's generating sets were commissioned between 1961 and 1962.[3] The station was the first joint venture between the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) and the National Coal Board (NCB). The station took coal directly from the neighbouring Lea Hall Colliery by conveyor belt.[2] This was the first such arrangement in Britain. The colliery was put into production some 6 months before the first generating unit was commissioned in the power station. The station was officially opened on 1 October 1963 by Lord Robens of Woldingham and Sir Christopher Hinton.

The first of the five cooling towers to be completed at Rugeley in 1960 was the world's first large dry cooling tower, and the first large scale experiment with a design aimed at eliminating water loss.[2] On occasions this tower was used by the RAF for parachute development. Rugeley A was also the first power station in Britain to be controlled entirely from a central control room.[2] The total cost of building it was £30 million.

Construction of Rugeley B power station began in 1965, with completion of the station in 1972. With both stations in operation, 850 people were employed at the stations in 1983.[2]

The two stations were initially operated by the Central Electricity Generating Board, but following privatisation in 1990, were handed over to National Power. The Lea Hall colliery was closed on 24 January 1991, meaning all coal burned in the stations needed to be delivered by rail.[2] A couple of years later the closure of the A station began. Two of the station's generating units were decommissioned in 1994, with the other three following in 1995.[3] Having burned nearly 42 million tonnes of coal in its lifetime, the station was demolished later in 1995.[2]

In July 1996 the Rugeley B power station was bought by Eastern Generation, itself acquired by TXU Europe. Rugeley B was subsequently sold to International Power plc in July 2001.[4] It remains under the same ownership, though International Power later merged with GDF Suez in 2011.

Construction of a Flue Gas Desulfurization plant started in early 2007 and it was commissioned at the B station in 2009. This allowed the station to comply with environmental legislation in force at the time and continue generating electricity.

146 people were[when?]employed in the station.[2]

In March 2012 Rugeley Power Ltd announced it would be considering a conversion to run using biomass fuel.[5] In December 2013, Rugeley Power Ltd said they have scrapped the proposed biomass conversion.[6]

In February 2016 it was announced that the power station would close in the summer of 2016. An announcement by owners, Engie blamed a deterioration in market conditions which included a fall in market prices and increasing carbon costs. The closure will result in the loss of 150 jobs

Rugeley Power Station ceased all operations on Wednesday 8 June 2016. Decommissioning began in June 2016. All buildings and structures on site are due for demolition lasting until around summer 2019.

"A" Station Statistics at Closure[edit]

Unit 1 - First ran 18/01/1961, last run 27/09/1994 Total hours run - 196,049 Total starts - 3,719 (3260 hot, 459 cold) Total Generation - 20,097 GWh

Unit 2 - First ran 19/07/1961, last run 26/02/1993 Total hours run - 180,781 Total starts - 4,948 (4577 hot, 371 cold) Total Generation - 18,882 GWh

Unit 3 - First ran 22/12/1961, last run 26/11/1992 Total hours run - 154,621 Total starts - 4,220 (3701 hot, 519 cold) Total Generation - 15,912 GWh

Unit 4 - First ran 14/08/1962, last run 28/01/1994 Total hours run - 169,201 Total starts - 4,404 (3997 hot, 407 cold) Total Generation - 17,526 GWh

Unit 5 - First ran 11/12/1962, last run 09/08/1994 Total hours run - 168,670 Total starts - 3,817 (3420 hot, 397 cold) Total Generation - 17,261 GWh

Total coal burnt during life time of station - 41,869,969 tonnes

"B" Station Statistics at Closure[edit]

Unit 6 - First ran 09/01/1970, last run 08/06/2016 Total hours run - 285,595hrs (approx 32.6yrs) Total starts - 2,764 (2313 hot, 451 cold) Total Generation - 125,776 GWh (average load 440MW's)

Unit 7 - First ran 15/10/1970, last run 30/12/2015 Total hours run - 289,320hrs (approx 33yrs) Total starts - 2,705 (2318 hot, 387 cold) Total Generation - 123,501 GWh (average load 427MW's)

Design and specification[edit]

A station[edit]

The station had five 120 MW generating sets which gave it a generating capacity of 600 megawatts.

B station[edit]

The Rugeley B station used two 500 MW generating sets, which could produce 8,760,000 MWh each year.[7] The station usually burned 1.6 million tonnes of coal a year, producing 240,000 tonnes of ash.[8] The station's boilers produced 1,100 tonnes of steam per hour, at a temperature of 568 degrees Celsius.[2] Rugeley B also had two gas turbine generators installed, each of 25 MW capacity, which were used for emergency unit starts or could generate direct to the Grid when required. It closed in 2016, as a result of a deterioration of market conditions. 30 of 150 staff remained to decommission the plant over 3 years.[9]

The Rugeley B Station chimney is 183m (600ft) in height, each of the 4 remaining cooling towers are 114m (380ft) and main boiler/generator house is 74m (245ft) high


  1. ^ "Welcome to Rugeley Power Station". Switch on to Rugeley Power. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Rugeley B Power Station in 360°". BBC Staffordshire. BBC. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  3. ^ a b "Generation disconnections since 1991". National Grid. 2003. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  4. ^ Morgan, Oliver; Correspondent, Industrial. "International Power in £250m deal with TXU". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Electricity Generation". Switch on to Rugeley Power. Archived from the original on 4 September 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  8. ^ "Burrow Pit". Switch on to Rugeley Power. Archived from the original on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  9. ^ "Rugeley Power Station to close in June". BBC News. 2016-05-21. Retrieved 2017-08-30.

External links[edit]

Media related to Rugeley Power Station at Wikimedia Commons