FAWLEY Power Station is to close next year after more than 40 years of service, it has been announced this morning.

The giant site, next to Fawley Oil Refinery, will stop generating on March 31 having provided electricity for millions of homes and businesses across Britain over its life time.

RWE npower say the oil-powered facility is opted out of the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive, aimed at reducing emissions across Europe, and was required to cease generation by the end of December 2015 at the latest.

But due to “current market conditions” the main units at the plant, which produces 1,000MW of elctricity, will now close earlier than predicted.

The firm says the closure was “driven by Government policy” with modern lower carbon power generation replacing older less efficient stations.

Bosses say the 60-strong work force is being consulted about the closure amid hopes some of them may find work in other areas of the company or in the decommissioning stage next year.

Meanwhile, the future use of the 230-acre site remains undecided but a spokesman said it remains “a strategic location for future power generation for the UK.”

Demolition of the historic facility could take “many years”.

Nick Stockdale, Fawley Power Station Manager, said: “We have a fantastic team at Fawley and I would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication over the 40 plus years we have been operational.

“I would also like to thank our local community partners who have supported us throughout these years.”