Power station carbon capture ready despite capacity increase

An application to vary a section 36 Electricity Act consent and give deemed planning permission to increase the capacity of a 900MW combined cycle gas turbine generating station in Essex to 1250MW has been granted. The secretary of state for energy and climate change was satisfied that the scheme would remain able to retrofit carbon capture plant and equipment as and when carbon capture became both technically and economically viable.

The secretary of state noted that the Environment Agency had stated that sufficient space was available to house the necessary carbon capture and storage kit. The Agency had also indicated that it accepted the technical feasibility of retro-fitting the kit should the need arise to do so.

The decision on the original section 36 application considered that the economic assessment produced by the applicant was in accordance with the requirements of carbon capture readiness guidance insofar as it demonstrated that the fitting of carbon capture plant would be potentially viable over the lifetime of the proposed development.

In relation to the variation application, the secretary of state noted the applicant`s assessment that retrofitting of carbon capture and storage equipment was economic under a range of scenarios given various permutations in respect of the price of carbon and whether the  necessary transport facilities were dedicated or shared. There were therfore no technical or economic obstacles to the grant of the requested variation on this matter.

The application was also covered by published guidance for all conventional power station proposals, requiring developers to demonstrate that opportunities for combined heat and power (CHP) had been seriously explored before a section 36 variation could be granted.

The secretary of state noted that the applicant had carried out an assessment of the CHP possibilities as part of its original application for section 36 consent and reviewed this in making its application for a variation of that consent.

The secretary of state was content with the applicant`s conclusion that, at the present time, there were no viable options for CHP.

Head of national infrastructure consents: Giles Scott; Written representations


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