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Power station to be demolished
A NORTH-EAST power plant, once capable of producing three per cent of the UK's electricity, is set for demolition.
About 30 staff still work on the site which halted output in April after bosses turned down its megawatt (MW) capacity to zero, due to weak market conditions and the relative inefficiency of the 20-year-old plant compared to newer facilities.
It was the second time in three years that the company had reduced its MW output at the plant, after lowering it from 1,875 MW to 45MW in 2011.
At the time, there were 60 voluntary redundancies from the firm's 93 employees.
The plant has the largest generating capacity of any combined cycle gas turbine power station in Europe.
Opened in 1993, it initially belonged to Enron before the firm's collapse in November 2001, and was then taken over in a management buy-out by five of its directors and operated on their behalf by PX Limited, before being sold to GDF Suez in 2008.
A spokesman said: "GDF SUEZ has taken the difficult decision to decommission and demolish Teesside Power Station.
"The decision was taken as a result of our view of the UK electricity market going forward as well as the inability of Teesside to compete with newer more efficient technology.
"However, future opportunities at the Teesside site are still being actively evaluated."
They said jobs could be found for the remaining staff within the GDF SUEZ group.
In the meantime, the UK's first nuclear power plant for a generation could be built after Michael Fallon, the Energy Minister, signalled that a deal to start work on the project could be just weeks away.
The Government earlier this year agreed plans to build a generation of new nuclear plants.
Barring any hitches, ministers in the Department of Energy and Climate Change are expected to reveal details of the deal with EDF Energy to build a reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
Industry groups have been invited to a meeting at the Department of Energy next week, where they are expected to be briefed on details of the deal.
Ministers hope a renewed focus on nuclear, wind power and biomass will ensure that the UK relies less on foreign energy.
The Energy minister, Michael Fallon, said he was working intensely to conclude negotiations that have so far dragged on for a year. "We're not quite there yet, but I hope we will be in the next few weeks," he said.
The negotiations between EDF and the Government stalled earlier this year after hitting an impasse over the so-called strike price - the guaranteed price at which EDF will be able to sell the electricity it generates at Hinkley Point.
George Osborne attempted to reinforce the Governments nuclear programme at this weeks Tory conference when spoke of his commitment to building new reactors.
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