Ratcliffe Power Station

Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station
Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station
Viewed from the east in September 2002
Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station
Location of Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station
Country England, United Kingdom
Location Nottinghamshire, East Midlands

52°51′55″N 1°15′18″W / 52.865268°N 1.255°W / 52.865268; -1.255Coordinates: 52°51′55″N 1°15′18″W / 52.865268°N 1.255°W / 52.865268; -1.255

Status Operational
Commission date 1968
Operator(s) Central Electricity Generating Board
Power station
Primary fuel Coal
Power generation
Installed capacity 2,034 MW
As of 31 October 2010

Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station is a coal-fired power station operated by E.ON UK at Ratcliffe-on-Soar in Nottinghamshire, England. Commissioned in 1968 by the then Central Electricity Generating Board, the station has a capacity of 2,000 MW. A number of environmental protests have been associated with the plant.


The coal power station occupies a prominent position close to junction 24 of the M1, the River Trent and the Midland Main Line (adjacent to East Midlands Parkway station) and dominates the skyline for many miles around with its eight cooling towers and 199 m (653 ft) tall chimney. It has four coal-fired boilers made by Babcock and Wilcox, each of which drive a 500 megawatt (MW) Parsons generator set. This gives the station a total generating capacity of 2,000 MW, which is enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately 2 million homes.[1]

E.ON UK has its Technology Centre at the site, now known as E.ON New Build and Technology, where it carries out research and development on power generation.

Environmental performance

The plant emits some 8–10 million tonnes of CO2 annually[2] making it the 18th highest CO2 emitting power station in Europe.[3] Some 48 million cubic metres of cooling water is taken from the nearby River Trent. Evaporative losses through the eight cooling towers account for some 11 million cubic metres of that water.

Ratcliffe power station is compliant with the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD),[4] an EU directive that aims to reduce acidification, ground level ozone and particulates by controlling the emissions of sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and dust from large combustion plants. To reduce emissions of Sulphur the plant is fitted with Flue Gas Desulphurisation, and also with a Boosted Over Fire Air system to reduce the concentration of oxides of nitrogen in the flue gas.[5]


The power station was built in the 1960s and opened in 1968.[6] In 1981, the station was burning 5.5 million tonnes of coal a year, consuming 65% of the output of the south Nottinghamshire's coal-mines.[7] Emissions of Sulphur dioxide, which cause Acid rain, were greatly reduced in 1993 when a flue gas desulphurisation system using wet limestone-gypsum process, became operational on all of the station's boilers.[8] Emissions of Nitrogen oxide, a greenhouse gas which also causes damage to the ozone layer were reduced in 2004 when new equipment was fitted to Unit 1 by ALSTOM.[9] On 2 April 2009, E.ON UK had announced that it had installed 68 panel solar photovoltaic array at the power station "to help heat and light the admin block, saving an estimated 6.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year".[10]

In 2009 East Midlands Trains opened its new East Midlands Parkway railway station in the shadow of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station which has a car park for 850 vehicles.[11]

On 11 February 2009, Unit 1 became the first UK 500 MW coal fired unit to run for 250,000 hours.[12]

Environmental protests

On 10 April 2007, eleven environmental activists from a group called Eastside Climate Action were arrested after they entered the power station and climbed onto equipment in order to draw attention to greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power stations, when E.ON UK were proposing to build more.[13]

In 2009, it was claimed that the station was the intended target of protestors when in the early hours of 14 April, police arrested 114 people who they said were planning to disrupt the running of the power plant. Those arrested were not charged and soon released on bail. Since then, 26 of those arrested have been charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass, a charge that carries a maximum six months sentence if convicted.[14] Twenty of these activists were convicted having admitted that they planned to break into the power station, but the charge against another six was dropped when it was revealed that Mark Kennedy of the Metropolitan Police had been working as an undercover infiltrator for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit and had played a significant role in organising the action.[15] Following these revelations the twenty convicted activists appealed, and their convictions have since been quashed.[16]

Between 17 and 18 October 2009, protesters from Climate Camp, Climate Rush and Plane Stupid,[17] took part in 'The Great Climate Swoop' at the site. The police arrested 10 people before the protest began on suspicion of conspiracy to cause criminal damage.[18] Some 1,000 people took part, and during the first day groups of up to several hundred people pulled down security fencing at a number of points around the plant.[19] Fifty six arrests were made during the protest and a number of people were injured, including one policeman who was airlifted to hospital but later discharged.[20]


External links

  • Official Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station page
  • E.ON UK
  • BBC Nottingham gallery.
  • Ratcliffe on Soar Power Station photos on Flickr
Preceded by
Ferrybridge C Power Station
Largest Power Station in the UK
Succeeded by
Longannet Power Station

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