A major expansion of gas capacity in the UK could be on the cards following new plans for an 880 MW gas-fired power station outside Manchester.
Financial support has been secured by Carrington Power, owned by Irish energy supplier ESB for its development of a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant from the Swiss Export Credit Agency, SERV along with Lloyds, Santander and Société Générale among others.
The power station will be commissioned in 2016 and produce enough power for a million homes. It will be built by engineering consortium Alstom Duro Felguera and Carrington Power.
UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey warmly welcomed the announcement in one of the clearest signals yet of the government’s plans for an expansion of gas energy generation capacity.
“Conventional gas fired power generation needs to remain in the energy mix for some time, even as we seek to develop alternative low carbon technologies such as renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage,” he said in a statement. “We urgently need to replace some of our ageing coal power stations and gas is relatively quick to build and half as polluting.”
The government announced a consultation on its gas strategy for the UK, and will unveil its plans later this year.
The strategy has been strongly criticised by environmental groups and the Committee on Climate Change, while the government and Davey assure us that the new gas capacity won’t push out the development of low-carbon renewables.