An iconic chimney at Scotland’s last-remaining coal-fired power station has come crashing down in an explosion as it was demolished.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pushed the button to ignite the 700kg of explosives that brought down the chimney stack, which stood at Longannet for more than 50 years.
The Fife plant produced Scotland’s last coal-fired energy until it ceased operation in 2016. But the iconic 600ft (183m) chimney remained the largest free-standing structure in Scotland.
Scotland has been coal-free since the station was closed by ScottishPower, which now generates 100% green electricity through its wind and solar farms.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Our goal is to generate 50% of overall energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030, and Scotland’s energy sector is well placed to deliver on the key investments in renewables, hydrogen and energy storage required to achieve this.”
Growth in these sectors over the next decade will be “transformative for Scotland,” the first minister said, delivering “good, green jobs, strengthened energy security, and benefits for local communities as we decarbonise industry and society to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, in a way that leaves no-one behind.”
Longannet began generation in 1970 and ScottishPower said it was the largest coal-fired power station in Europe when first built, remaining the largest in Scotland until it closed on 31 March 2016.
Ahead of the demolition, the owner ScottishPower projected onto the stack the slogan “make coal history,” a catchphrase popularised this year as more and more countries agreed to ditch coal power.
Coal is the most polluting fossil fuel and phasing it out is seen as an urgent step in tackling climate change.
The energy company also lit up the chimney with “global warming stripes” to illustrate the change in global temperature from 1850 to 2020.
The energy company said the projection “demonstrates the importance of climate action and the need to act now to tackle the climate crisis”.
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