by Luke Rajczuk
Over 160kg of nitro glycerine based explosives were used in 1500 charge holes drilled in two chimneys and turbine hall which went down, as smoothly as a textbook can possibly say, in a spectacular performance from the pyrotechnic team involved.
Designed by Sir Robert Matthew and launched in 1968 Cockenzie was the largest coal power plant in Scotland providing jobs to over 10,000 locals of whom many also gathered to witness the demolition and express their sadness or hope for new development in the area as well as reflect on the good old days.
In its heydays the station generated more than 150 Terawatt Hours, enough to fulfil average energy needs of over 1 million homes every year during its 45 years in operation.
Hugh Finlay, ScottishPower Generation Director, said: “The demolition team have been working towards this day for two years, and it was fantastic to see all of our detailed preparations and calculations culminate in such a dramatic event.”
Soothing breeze and birds’ singing over the Scottish Firth of Forth and Prestonpans town were suddenly interrupted by this extensively impetuous tremor to the ground beneath the onlookers’ feet and a gentle yet meaningful wave to all the people watching from their boats moored along the shore. It was the ‘bang’ that ended it. In just under a minute both 149 metres high stacks fell towards each other in what reminded ‘a kiss goodbye’ style drama performance for the entire coal charged facility. The landscape has changed and the view from Portobello Beach will never be the same again only the time will tell whether other structures appear in replacement.