Ferrybridge 'A' Power station was a small coal-fired plant, constructed in 1927 and closed in 1957. The boiler and turbine hall still exists to this day and is used as offices and by the Technical Support Group who are responsible for maintenance and repairs of power station plant from around the country.
Ferrybridge 'B' Power station, constructed in 1959 was a 300MW coal-fired station, consisting of 3 x 100MW units. The station closed in the early 1990s and has been completely demolished.
Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station is a 2000MW coal-fired power station owned by Scottish and Southern Energy plc. It was the first 2000MW power station in Europe and first supplied energy to the National Grid in 1966. The power station was buit by the CEGB but was transferred to Powergen PLC after privatisation. The station, along with Fiddlers Ferry Power Station, a 1989MW coal-fired station in Cheshire, was then sold to Edison Mission Energy in 1999, sold on to AEP Energy Services Ltd in 2001 and both were sold again in July 2004 to Scottish and Southern Energy for £136m.
The station itself comprises four 500MW units, using 800 tonnes of coal and 218 million litres of coolant water per hour. As well as the four main units, the station has two gas turbines which produce an extra 34MW combined, for use in dead starts (large power stations often need external electricity to start up if the main units are off line) and for extra generating capacity. The station has two 198m high chimneys and eight 115m high cooling towers, which are the largest of their kind in Europe. On November 1st 1965, three of the towers collapsed shortly after construction in a gale with winds gusting up to 85mph. Although the structure of the towers had been built to withstand higher wind speeds, the shape of the cooling towers meant that the westerly winds were funnelled into the towers themselves creating a vortex. The towers were rebuilt and all eight cooling towers were strengthened to tolerate adverse weather conditions.
Ferrybridge 'C' has had an operating life of over 40 years. Since 2003, the station has established itself as the market leader in the effective co-firing of renewable fuels. In the 2002-2003 tax year, the station was responsible for 80% of all co-fired renewable energy in the UK resulting in a 3.5% net reduction of the plant's greenhouse gas emissions.
Work has recently begun on a new FGD (Flue Gas Desulphurisation) plant servicing units 3 & 4 which will be completed in 2008. Last year, Scottish and Southern Energy announced plans to conduct a feasibility study to retrofit unit 1 with a 'supercritical' boiler. According to the 2007 Annual Report, the decision was taken to discontinue this scheme. As of June 2007, however, a separate study is underway to assess the feasibility of building a new 800MW supercritical coal-fired station at Ferrybridge. These developments could ensure that a power station will exist at Ferrybridge well into the 21st Century.