Watt Power, the independent power station development company, has secured consent from the Department of Energy & Climate Change for its first gas-fired power projects in the UK: the Hirwaun Power project, near Aberdare in south Wales, and the Progress Power project located near Eye in Suffolk. The two open-cycle gas fired power generation plants are the first of their kind to be permitted in the UK and they will be entered into the Government’s Capacity Market Auction, scheduled for December 2015.
Subject to the outcome of the Capacity Market Auction and the projects’ financing, Watt Power would expect both plants to commence construction within 18 months of the Auction, with commercial operation scheduled for 2019.
After a 2½ year consultation and examination process for each of the two projects, Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change has granted Development Consent Orders (DCOs) to both. Each open-cycle gas turbine project has a capacity of 299MW and will operate as “peaking plant”, providing back-up to intermittent renewable generation and at times of high system demand.
George Grant, a Director of Watt Power, said: “This is great news for the Watt Power team and the UK Government. Our projects are designed to meet the UK Government’s energy policy objectives of security of supply and affordability and support the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy.”
“However, despite the widespread acceptance that new generation plant is required and the considerable investment we have made to date, we don’t have any guarantees of success in the Capacity Market Auction given the current market arrangements. We recognise that there is still much to do even though we have the DCOs for two projects: it is an important point that Government and market commentators should not overlook.”
Taylor Keogh has worked with Watt Power since 2012 with responsibility for local community and stakeholder communication through the DCO process.