Project Description

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.

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Need for the Project

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’).

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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.

 

Main Project Components

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.

stockyard

The main components of the Project are:

  • a combined cycle gas turbine (‘CCGT’) plant comprising up to 3 CCGT units;
  • a fast response peaking plant of up to 299 megawatts that would provide electricity to the National Grid at short notice during periods of unexpected high demand or in the event of the loss of generating capacity elsewhere;
  • a black start plant that would generate the electricity needed to allow the CCGT plant to help restart the National Grid network in the event of a partial or total loss of power on the network;
  • an underground gas pipeline running from the existing coal-fired power station site, northward under the River Aire to a connection point with the National Transmission System (‘NTS’) for gas to the west of Burn Village;
  • an Above Ground Installation (‘AGI’) at the connection point to the NTS, including the necessary plant and equipment;
  • an electrical connection to the existing 400kV substation on the existing coal-fired power station site to allow for the export of electricity to the National Grid; and
  • works to the existing cooling water pipelines and intake and outfall structures within the River Aire.

The boundary of the Project Site is shown in red below. The Project Site extends to approximately 102 hectares in area.

Map 1
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.

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What is CCGT?

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.

Process-Drawing

 

What is a Peaking Plant?

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.

 

 What is Black Start?

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 Benefits of the Project

The key benefits can be summarised as follows:

  • The Project would make use of brownfield land at an existing power generation site that already benefits from electrical and cooling water connections and other infrastructure.
  • There is an urgent need for all types of nationally significant energy infrastructure, including gas-fired power stations. The Project would respond to this urgent need in a timely manner (it could be operational by 2022).
  • The Project would provide a long-term replacement for the existing coal-fired power station at Eggborough.
  • The Project would include a gas-fired peaking plant, a particularly flexible form of electricity generating capacity, able to respond rapidly to increases in demand for electricity network or fluctuations in supply from renewable technologies.
  • The Project would support the increased deployment of renewable energy in the UK by providing back-up for when generation from intermittent renewable generating capacity is low.
  • Gas is more efficient and results in lower CO2 emissions than other fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
  • The Project has been designed to be carbon capture ready (‘CCR’) and combined heat and power ready (‘CHP Ready’).
  • The Project would have substantial benefits for the regional and local economy, both during construction and operation.