Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has announced plans to opt significant coal-fired capacity into the UK’s Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD) which would have otherwise required the closure of the Fiddlers Ferry and Ferrybridge plants in 2015.

All of the capacity at its 2,000 MW Fiddler’s Ferry power station in Cheshire and half of the capacity at its 2,000 MW Ferrybridge power station in South Yorkshire will be opted into the scheme and will now require the installation of Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) at an investment cost estimated to be around £225 million ($387 million).

Lurgi Ltd has been appointed preferred bidder for the FGD installation work. Preliminary work has already started and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2008. Following the installation of the FGD equipment, restrictions on generation at the plants between 2008 and 2015 will be lifted.

The Ferrybridge and Fiddler’s Ferry stations had been opted out of the LCPD by previous owners AEP Energy Services before SSE acquired the plants and associated coal stocks for £136 million ($233 million) in July 2004.