Germany’s second largest utility RWE plans to permanently close its 2,000MW Didcot A coal-fired power plant in Britain on 22 March 2013, citing expiration of the plant's operating hours.

The Didcot power station hosts two power stations – the 2,000MW dual-fired A station and the 1,360MW combined cycle gas turbine B station.

Didcot A began commercial operation in 1970 and operates under the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD), allowing the station to operate for up to 20,000 hours between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2015.

The European Union law mandates highly polluting power plants to shut down by the end of 2015, unless the plants are fitted with equipment that reduce emissions.

"Based on current generation forecasts it is expected that Didcot A coal fired Power Station will cease generation at 14:00 on Friday 22 March 2013," Reuters reported the utility as saying.

This year, a large number of UK coal-fired power plants are set to shut down as the allocated hours expire.

Meanwhile, a new British carbon tax from 1 April 2013 will decrease the economic viability of coal plants.