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Scotland ends coal-fired electricity

Scotland will today stop generating electricity from coal for the first time in more than 100 years.

The Longannet power station, north of the capital Edinburgh, switches off the last of its four generating units at 3 p.m. local time Thursday.

Longannet Power Station in Clackmannan in Scotland.
Jeff J Mitchell | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Longannet Power Station in Clackmannan in Scotland.

The plant was the largest coal power station in Europe when it came online in 1969, capable of producing 2,400 megawatts.

""Coal has long been the dominant force in Scotland's electricity generation fleet, but the closure of Longannet signals the end of an era.

"For the first time in more than a century no power produced in Scotland will come from burning coal," said Hugh Finlay, Scottish Power's generation director in a statement.

Scottish Power said the power station is closing as maintenance and transmission costs have risen.

The firm, owned by Spain's Iberdrola, once ran half a dozen coal-fired power stations but is now dependent on gas and wind farms for generating electricity.

The Scottish government has outlined ambitious plans to meet 100 percent of demand for electricity from renewable supplies only by 2020.

The Scottish energy strategy refuses to consider new nuclear energy, putting it at odds with the wider U.K. policy mix.

In February, the U.K's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published energy policy priorities from 2015 to 2020.

The department announced a drive to expand nuclear energy as well as supporting "fracking" – hydraulic fracturing - to supplement gas production from the North Sea.

However the U.K. policy has been thrown in to confusion by fresh doubts over whether French firm EDF can carry out a promise to build the Hinkley Point nuclear project in southwest England.