Cockenzie Power Station

Cockenzie Power Station
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Cockenzie Power Station

Cockenzie Power Station once dominated the combined towns of Cockenzie and Port Seton, occupying a 93-ha / 230-acre site on the shores of the Firth of Forth, a half-mile (1 km) northeast of Prestonpans and 8 miles (13 km) east of Edinburgh. The station was operated by Scottish Power, a privatised utility which now forms part of a multi-national energy group. Operational since 1967, the station was a 1200-megawatt (MW) coal-fired plant, comprising four separate generating units. The station closed in 2013 when generation ended to meet agreed European Union targets for atmospheric pollution. The initial intention was to convert the plant to operate on gas, but with the loss of its landmark 152-m (500-foot) pair of chimneys. This scheme did not come to fruition and the majority of the station was demolished in 2015, leaving only the transformer house. The site was bought by East Lothian Council in 2018.

Designed by Edinburgh architects Robert Matthew and Johnson-Marshall, construction began in 1959 on the site of the former Prestonlinks Colliery, which closed in 1964. It was opened by William Ross MP, the Secretary of State for Scotland, on the 24th May 1968, and initially operated by the South of Scotland Electricity Board, a government-run regional utility provider.

Originally coal was obtained directly from the deep mines of the neighbouring Lothian coalfield, but subsequently coal has been conveyed by rail from open cast mines in the Lothians, Fife, Ayrshire and Lanarkshire. More than 800 train-loads of coal were required annually. Ash remaining after combustion is mixed with water and piped to large lagoons on the seaward side of the Race Course at Musselburgh where it is deposited.

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