Czech EPH to Build UK Gas-Fired Plant
The 2-GW Eggborough coal-fired power station in northern England, owned by Czech privately-owned utility group EPH, is to be demolished and replaced by a same-sized gas-fired plant.
The announcement, made by EPH August 25, comes as the UK said its share of power in April-June 2016 generated from gas had risen to above 50% with coal’s share slumping. Cheaper gas has improved the generating margins, relative to coal, not only in the UK but also in Germany. EPH had already announced its intention to shut the coal-fired plant in North Yorkshire, in September 2015.
EPH said before the CCGT can be built, it must apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO) under the Planning Act 2008 from the UK’s Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark. That application will go to the government’s Planning Inspectorate. If approved, EPH can then take a final investment decision.
It is undertaking technical and environmental studies to identify the most appropriate location within the Eggborough power plant site for the new gas-fired power station and also a suitable route for the gas pipeline connection to the natural gas transmission network. Consultations on a final proposal are expected to end early in 2017, with submission of the DCO application in mid-2017 and a decision by the Business Secretary in autumn 2018. At going to press, details of the expected cost and start-up date, if approvals go to plan, were awaited from EPH.
Eggborough began generating in 1970, became part of National Power in 1991, and then was bought by British Energy in 2000. A year after BE was bought in 2009 by EDF, the plant became independent. Its sale to EPH was announced in 2014 and completed last year.
In February 2016, a month before its scheduled closure, Eggborough signed a 12-month contract to provide emergency supply to the National Grid, safeguarding most of the site's 262 jobs. EPH now says the proposed new gas-fired plant will "make an important contribution to the security of national energy supplies and the local economy."
Last month EPH completed the first phase of buying Slovakian generator Slovenske Elektrarne; it already owns the company's main gas supply and transport businesses, including the primary transit route across Slovakia for Russian gas exported via Ukraine.