Didcot power station

Didcot Power Station
Didcot Power Station
Viewed from the south in September 2006
Didcot power stations
Location of Didcot Power Station
Country England
Location Oxfordshire, South East England

51°37′25″N 1°16′03″W / 51.62363°N 1.26757°W / 51.62363; -1.26757Coordinates: 51°37′25″N 1°16′03″W / 51.62363°N 1.26757°W / 51.62363; -1.26757

Commission date 1968
Operator(s) Central Electricity Generating Board
National Power
RWE npower
Power station
Primary fuel Coal-fired
Secondary fuel Natural gas-fired
Tertiary fuel Biofuel

Didcot Power Station refers to a combined coal and oil power plant (Didcot A Power Station) and a natural-gas power plant (Didcot B Power Station) that supply the National Grid. They are situated immediately adjoining one another in the civil parish of Sutton Courtenay, next to the town of Didcot in Oxfordshire (formerly in Berkshire), in the UK. The combined power stations feature a chimney which is one of the taller structures in the UK, and six hyperbolic cooling towers, which can be seen from much of the surrounding landscape.

Didcot A

Didcot A Power Station was a coal and gas-fired power station, which ceased operation on 22 March 2013. Designed by architect Frederick Gibberd, a vote was held in Didcot and surrounding villages on whether the power station should be built. There was strong opposition from Sutton Courtenay but the yes vote was carried, due to the number of jobs that would be created in the area. Building was started on the 2,000 MWe power station for the Central Electricity Generating Board CEGB during 1964, and was completed in 1968 at a cost of £104m, with up to 2400 workers being employed at peak times. It is located on a 300 acres (1.2 km2) site formerly part of the Ministry of Defence Central Ordnance Depot. The main chimney is 650 ft (200 m) tall with the six cooling towers 325 ft (99 m) each. The station used four 500 MWe generating units. In 2003 Didcot A burnt 3.7Mt of coal.

The station burned mostly pulverised coal, but also co-fired with natural gas. Didcot was the first large power station to be converted to have this function. In addition, a small amount of biomass, such as sawdust, was burnt at the plant. This was introduced to try to depend more on renewable sources following the introduction of the Kyoto Protocol and, in April 2002, the Renewables Obligation. It was hoped that biomass could replace 2% of coal burnt. In 1996 and 1997, Thales UK was awarded contracts by Innogy (now npower) to implement the APMS supervisory and control system on all of the four units, then allowing to have optimised emissions monitoring and reporting.[1] Between 2005 and 2007 Didcot installed overfire air systems on the four boilers to reduce emissions of Nitrous Oxide.This ensured compliance with the Large Combustion Plant Directive.

Some ash from Didcot A is used to manufacture building blocks at a factory on the adjacent Milton Park and transported to Thatcham (near Newbury, Berkshire) for the manufacture of Thermalite aerated breeze blocks using both decarbonized fly and raw ash, but most is mixed with water and pumped via a pipeline to former quarries in Radley.

Environmental protests

On the morning of Thursday 2 November 2006, 30 Greenpeace volunteers invaded the power station. One group chained themselves to a broken coal-carrying conveyor belt. A second group scaled the 200 metre high chimney, and set up a 'climate camp'. They proceeded to paint "Blair's Legacy" on the side of the chimney overlooking the town. Greenpeace claim Didcot Power Station is the second most polluting in Britain after Drax in Yorkshire,[2] whilst Friends of the Earth describe it as the ninth worst in the UK.[3]

A similar protest occurred early on 26 October 2009, when nine climate change protesters climbed the chimney, and eleven chained themselves to the coal delivery conveyors; the latter group were cut free by police after five hours, but the former waited until 28 October before coming down again — all twenty were arrested, and power supplies continued uninterrupted. The power station was installing improved security fencing at the time.[4]

2013 closure

Didcot A opted out of the Large Combustion Plant Directive which meant it was only be allowed to run for up to 20,000 hours after 1 January 2008 and must close by 31 December 2015 at the latest. The decision was made not to install Flue Gas Desulphurisation equipment which would have allowed continued generation.

Studies did continue into whether there was a possibility that Didcot A might be modernised with new super-clean coal burning capabilities; with RWE partly involved in the study,[5] however in September 2012 RWE Npower announced that Didcot A using its current coal burning capabilities would close at the end of March 2013.[6] On 22 March 2013, Didcot A closed and the de-commissioning process began.

Didcot B


site entrance for Didcot A on Basil Hill Road', however the 'temporary' access using the former National Grid stores access road is still in use.


It consists of two 680 MWe modules, each with two 230 MW steam turbine.


Following privatisation of the CEGB in the early 1990s, Didcot A passed into the control of what became National Power, who also started construction of Didcot B. Following demerger the plant passed to Innogy (in 2000) and following the takover of Innogy by RWE in 2002 ownership passed to Npower (UK).[8]


Tours of Didcot A are available and are free for educational institutions and community groups. Tours last 2 hours and are available for Year 4 pupils (8-9 year olds) onwards.[9]

Architectural reception

  • It was voted Britain's third worst eyesore in 2003 by Country Life readers,[10] although Didcot A won architectural awards for how well it blended into the landscape, following its construction. Radio Oxford received votes for the station when they conducted a survey of the worst building in Oxfordshire, with some listeners referring to it as looking like somewhere up north.
  • British poet Kit Wright has written an "Ode to Didcot Power Station" using a parodic style akin to that of the early romantic poets.

See also


External links

  • Map sources for Didcot power stations
  • Power Stations Visits — Didcot A
  • Power Stations Visits — Didcot A for students
  • APMS: Advanced Plant Management System
  • Architectural views
  • Other CCGTs in southern England

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.