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    EPH Cleared to Build Larger UK Plant


A Czech generator has been cleared to increase its planned UK gas-fired project.

by: Mark Smedley

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EPH Cleared to Build Larger UK Plant

Czech private-owned energy group, EPH, has secured consent from the UK government to increase by two-thirds the size of a planned combined-cycle (CCGT) gas-fired power plant.

EPH has been cleared to expand the size of its still undeveloped CCGT project at King's Lynn in eastern England from 1,020 MW to 1,700 MW, thereby modifying an original consent granted nine years ago; the revised consent was given in a letter dated December 6 and published December 10. A consultation on the expansion took place earlier this year.

The revised consent allows EPH also to build a 30-50 MW diesel-fired 'black start' unit to be used only for the purpose of kick-starting the 1,700 MW project in the event of a total outage. It also gives EPH the option of developing up to 299 MW of its project as a non-CCGT 'open cycle gas turbine' unit.

Mainly active on the continent as an infrastructure, power plant and mine owner-operator, EPH has various power generation assets in the UK. They included a 2,000 MW coal-fired plant at Eggborough in northern England that closed March 2018, after staying open longer than expected to provide reserve cover in winter 2016-17. Eggborough was due to be replaced with a CCGT of the same size but its status is unclear.

In mid-2017, EPH paid £318mn ($401mn) cash for two CCGTs totaling some 2,300 MW from Centrica at South Humber Bank (northern England) and at Langage (southwest England, pictured as banner photo, courtesy EPH). It also has plans to develop up to 395 MW of biomass-fueled power at Lynemouth, northeast England on the site of a larger coal-fired plant.

Centrica retains the 'King's Lynn A' CCGT site, having divested its undeveloped 'King's Lynn B' project to EPH as part of its mid-2017 deal.

Centrica told NGW that King's Lynn A is being refurbished, following a decision last year to replace its old 370 MW unit with a new 380 MW CCGT; the latter "will be operational next year."