Gas-fired plant held compliant with low-carbon goals

National energy policy supports plans for 40MW stand-by power plant fuelled by natural gas on the edge of a south Wales town, Welsh ministers have decided.

The scheme comprised nine 4.5MW gas engine generators to provide back-up energy to the grid in a regional or national emergency and would have a 25-year lifetime. It was proposed on 0.64 hectares of agricultural land adjoining an existing substation, industrial uses and a cemetery close to the M4.

Ministers agreed with the inspector that, subject to a planning condition to secure an acoustic fence, the generators would cause no noise harm, particularly to nearby residents. Given the site’s visual context, they were satisfied that effects on the area’s character and appearance would also be acceptable. The site was at little or no risk of flooding and loss of best and most versatile agricultural land was considered to be outweighed by the scheme’s energy security benefits.

In reaching this view, they observed that UK government national policy statements on energy cited by the inspector were not relevant to determination of applications in Wales.  However, they cited the Welsh Government’s plan for a transition to a  “low-carbon nation”, which recognises that gas will have an important transitional role in power generation.

Inspector: Richard Jenkins; Written representations


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