Energy company RWE has announced its decision to close the Aberthaw B coal-fired power station located in Wales, UK.

Planned for closure on 31 March 2020, the power plant was commissioned in 1971 and has played a key role in the UK’s power generation mix.

RWE said the decision comes as a result of challenging market conditions for coal-fired power generation in the UK.

Commenting on the decision, RWE Generation CEO Roger Miesen said: “This is a difficult time for everyone at Aberthaw Power Station. However market conditions made this decision necessary.

“I would like to thank all of our staff, past and present, who have contributed to the success of the station for so many years. Over the coming months we will complete the consultation process.”

Aberthaw Power Station’s existing Capacity Market agreements to be transferred to third parties

As part of the decision, RWE intends to will transfer Aberthaw Power Station’s existing Capacity Market agreements for the years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 to third parties and retain a small proportion at other units in its fleet.

RWE UK country chair and RWE Generation chief commercial officer Tom Glover said: “For nearly 50 years the plant has played an invaluable role in helping to secure the energy supplies across the UK electricity system and we are very proud of its flexibility and resilience.

“With our flexible gas and biomass power station portfolio, RWE will remain an important player in the UK energy market.”

The firm now intends to commence consultation with staff and employee representatives. The power plant directly employs around 170 people.

REW said the power plant closure decision will contribute to its efforts to significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

In 2016, RWE said it would incorporate changes to emission processes at its Aberthaw coal-fed power station after a court ruled it had violated pollution norms.

The company noted it plans to modify the plant to equip it to burn lower-emitting international coal to reduce emissions by another 30%.