2011-01-16 Longannet Power Station

Longannet Power Station, on the north side of the River Forth at Kincardine, is the third-largest coal-fired power station in Europe. It produces some 2,400MW of electrical power, the equivalent of two gas-cooled reactor nuclear power stations. It provides the bulk of the power that makes Scotland function, yet this comes at a cost. The four and a half million tonnes of coal burned each year make it Scotland’s most polluting entity, according to Wikipedia.

Today, we went for a walk along some small roads just west of Grangemouth, and came face-to-face with this remarkable view of the power station. The mud flats of the Forth Valley’s flood plain are in the foreground of the photograph, the Forth itself in the middle and then the power station. Behind it and slightly to the right of the chimney you can see Knock Hill in the mist.

Aside: The Wikipedia article about Longannet has this marvellous line: "In 2007 the WWF named Europe’s 30 most climate polluting power stations in absolute terms; of these, Longannet was the most polluting in the UK (relative to power output)". How does one break it to well-meaning, but clearly mathematically and scientifically illiterate contributors that the reckoning can be either absolute, or relative, but not both?