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    UK Co Gets Okay for Peaking Plant


Financing the construction will need some guarantee of power sales, such as a capacity contract.

by: William Powell

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UK Co Gets Okay for Peaking Plant

A subsidiary of UK generator Drax, Millbrook Power, had government approval to build its rapid-response 299-MW peaking power plant. 

It is counting on the UK capacity mechanism, now suspended, being restored soon; but it told NGW March 14 that it only expects to enter the auction from this year onwards and intends to participate in future auctions subject to the re-establishment of the mechanism.

Building work will get underway at the end of this year at the earliest, once it has secured a capacity market agreement to underpin our investment. “We are waiting to see what happens with the government's Capacity Market Auctions - the mechanism used to ensure we have the power we need at the least cost. The government has indicated it could be reinstated this year,” it said. Construction will take two years, so the earliest the power station could be operational is 2022.

The plant has limited operating hours, reflecting the expected running time of a peaking plant and ensuring the plant complies with European laws on emissions limits. It can run up to a maximum of 2,250 hours in any given year, provided that the five-year rolling average does not exceed 1,500 hours. Instant-response plant, to fill in when renewables fail, is less efficient than combined-cycle gas turbines which are slower to start but designed to generate for longer periods.

The company told NGW that it would take the gas from the grid through a new pipeline, but would not have a supply agreement, perhaps owing to the flexibility it will need to offtake gas at short notice.