Eggborough Power Limited (‘EPL’) is seeking development consent for the construction, operation and maintenance of a new gas-fired power station with a gross output capacity of up to 2,500 megawatts (‘MW’) of electricity, including electrical and water connections, a new gas supply pipeline and other associated development (the ‘Project’) on land at and in the vicinity of the existing Eggborough coal-fired power station, near Selby, North Yorkshire. The location of the Project Site is shown below.
The UK needs to develop new electricity generation capacity to replace its aging coal-fired and nuclear power stations, which are due to close over the next few years. This needs to happen to help safeguard the security of electricity supply to the country’s homes and businesses. The urgent need for new generation capacity, including gas-fired power stations, is set out in government policy. This includes the Overarching National Policy Statement for Energy (‘EN-1’) and the National Policy Statement for Fossil Fuel Electricity Generating Infrastructure (‘EN-2’).
The UK is increasingly reliant on renewable energy, primarily wind energy, which is intermittent in nature and dependent on weather conditions. Gas-fired power stations provide flexibility within the UK’s generation mix, being able to respond rapidly to fluctuations in supply (e.g. when the wind isn’t blowing) and ensure that enough electricity is generated. Gas-fired power stations are also cleaner than those using coal or oil and emit significantly lower CO2 emissions per MW than other fossil fuels.
The Project would make a significant contribution to UK electricity supply in terms of both security and flexibility, while contributing to the Government’s carbon reduction targets.
The new power station would be capable of supplying the electricity needs of around 2 million homes. It would be built on land entirely within the operational area of the existing coal-fired power station (owned by EPL), primarily comprising the main coal stockyard located within the south-east part of the existing coal-fired power station site. The new gas pipeline would involve land that is not owned by EPL.
The main coal stockyard is identified below.
The main components of the Project are:
The boundary of the Project Site is shown in red below. The Project Site extends to approximately 102 hectares in area.
The indicative appearance of the new gas-fired power station, with and without the existing coal-fired power station in the background, is shown in the visualisations below.
The new power station would employ Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (‘CCGT’) technology. In a CCGT power station, natural gas fuel is fired in the combustion system to drive a gas turbine, which is connected to a generator to produce electricity. The hot exhaust gases generated by the gas turbine are passed through a heat recovery boiler to recover more of the useful heat. The boiler generates steam to produce further electricity via a steam turbine. The steam leaving the steam turbine is then condensed and this water is returned to the process for re-use. A cooling system is required to condense the steam used in the generation process. This requires a supply of cooling water.
The electrical efficiency of a modern CCGT power station, dependent on technology selection, can be greater than 60%. This is considerably higher than conventional coal or oil-fired power stations, which have an efficiency of around 35-45%.
The diagram below illustrates the inputs and outputs of the CCGT generation process.
Peaking plants are power plants that generally run only when there is a high demand for electricity on the National Grid, known as ‘peak demand’. Peaking plants are used in combination with base load power plants, which supply a dependable and consistent amount of electricity to meet the minimum demand on the National Grid.
Black Start is the procedure to recover from a total or partial shutdown of National Grid’s electricity transmission system which has caused an extensive loss of supplies. This entails isolated power stations having the capability to restart independently.
Most power stations need an electrical supply to start up, and under normal operation this supply would come from the transmission system. However, under emergency conditions Black Start power stations receive this electrical supply from small auxiliary generating plant located on-site, known as a Black Start plant.
The key benefits can be summarised as follows: