Plans for a new 880 MW gas-fired power station outside Manchester could be the beginning of a major expansion of gas capacity in the UK.
Carrington Power, owned by Irish energy supplier ESB, has secured financial support for its development of a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant from the Swiss Export Credit Agency, SERV, along with Lloyds, Santander and Société Générale among others.
The power station, which will be built by engineering consortium Alstom Duro Felguera and Carrington Power, will be commissioned in 2016 and produce enough power for a million homes.
UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey warmly welcomed the announcement in one of the clearest signals yet of the government’s plans for an expansion of gas energy generation capacity.
“Conventional gas fired power generation needs to remain in the energy mix for some time, even as we seek to develop alternative low carbon technologies such as renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage,” he said in a statement. “We urgently need to replace some of our ageing coal power stations and gas is relatively quick to build and half as polluting.”
Moreover, in an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Davey said the government is planning some 20 GW of new gas capacity to be built by 2030.
Earlier this year the government launched a consultation on its gas strategy for the UK and is expected to unveil its plans this autumn.
But while the government and Davey promise that new gas capacity in the short term will not push out the development of low-carbon renewables, the strategy has been strongly criticised by environmental groups and the influential Committee on Climate Change.
For further information:
UK coal power station closes as gas gets going (26-Sept)
Shale gas no ‘silver bullet’ for UK but will bring benefits (19-Sept)
Climate Change Committee condemns UK government’s ‘dash for gas’ (14-Sept)
UK government calls for input into gas generation strategy (3-May)
01 October 2012