July 2014: News that Barking Power Station’s owners have begun “negotiations over the facility’s closure due to poor market conditions…The proposal to close the power station and embark on these consultations is taken in the context of the current adverse market conditions for gas-fired power generation,” the facility’s owner Barking Power Ltd said in a statement on Tuesday. If implemented, the full closure of the station is expected to be completed within two years”.
Despite concerns over falling levels of electricity system supply margins (see latest Ofgem Electricity Capacity Assessment report here), due in part to the closure of coal-fired power stations, the news report states that “because gas prices have been high relative to wholesale electricity, which power generators sell into the grid, aging power stations such as Barking with relatively low efficiency grades struggle to make a profit.” An earlier news report highlighted how part of the plant had been previously mothballed in 2013.
Barking Power Station was completed in 1995 and has a capacity of 1,000 megawatt (MW), enough to supply over half a million homes with electricity. Further information on the power plant can be read in its Wikipedia entry, a profile by the plant’s operator, and – going back a bit further – details of the original coal power station that was opened on the site in 1925!