EP UK Power Development Limited (‘EP UKPD Ltd’) has obtained a Variation Consent from the Secretary of State for the King’s Lynn ‘B’ CCGT Power Station Project (the ‘Project’). The Variation Consent allows us to construct and operate a new gas-fired power station with an electrical output of up to 1,700 megawatts (‘MW’), including associated works.
The power station could include up to two combined cycle gas turbine (‘CCGT’) units and may also include an open cycle gas turbine (‘OCGT’) plant. It would be constructed on land to the east of the existing Centrica operated Kings Lynn ‘A’ Power Station at the Willows Industrial Estate, Kings Lynn, PE34 3RD (the ‘Site’). The location of the Site is shown below.
The Need for the Project
The UK needs to develop new electricity generation capacity to replace its ageing coal-fired and nuclear power stations, which are due to close over the next few years. This needs to happen to help safeguard the security of electricity supplies to the country’s homes and businesses. The urgent need for the development of new power stations, including gas-fired power stations is set out in government policy. This policy includes the Overarching National Policy Statement for Energy (‘EN-1’) and the National Policy Statement for Fossil Fuel Electricity Generating Infrastructure (‘EN-2’). These documents can be found here.
The new power station would be capable of generating enough electricity to supply over 1.7 million homes, which is equivalent to providing around 3.5% of the UK’s electricity. It would, therefore, make a significant contribution to UK electricity supply in terms of both security and flexibility, while contributing to the Government’s carbon reduction targets.
The Main Project Components
The new power station would be constructed on land to the east of the existing Centrica operated King’s Lynn ‘A’ Power Station. The image below shows the area was covered by the 2009 Consent outlined in yellow with the additional land now required for the Project outlined in red. The Centrica King’s Lynn ‘A’ Power Station site is shown outlined in green and the existing household waste and recycling site in blue.
Plans showing the new power station can be found here.
Not all of the Site would be occupied by the power station. Some of the land needs to be set aside to accommodate any future carbon capture plant to ensure that the power station is ‘Carbon Capture Ready’. This is explained further below.
The Variation Consent that has been granted allows EP UKPD Ltd to construct and operate a power station of up to 1,700 MW gross capacity, comprising one of the following two options (only one will be constructed) :
- Option 1 – up to two CCGT units; or
- Option 2 – one CCGT unit; and an OCGT peaking plant.
A ‘Black Start’ facility would also be installed at the Site. Further information on this is provided below.
The chosen option would depend on technical and economic factors, including the electricity market.
The power station would require a connection to the National Transmission System (‘NTS’) for gas. This would be provided in the form of a new gas pipeline running from the existing Above Ground Installation (‘AGI’) within the King’s Lynn ‘A’ Power Station site (the AGI is the point where King’s Lynn ‘A’ connects to the NTS). Planning permission for the new gas pipeline was granted on 12 July 2018.
The power station would require an electrical connection to the National Grid in order to export the electricity that it would generate. This connection would be provided by a short section of underground electrical cable connecting to a substation within the southern part of the Site. The substation forms part of the Project. The substation would be linked to the National Grid via the King’s Lynn ‘B’ Connection Project that has been promoted by National Grid Electricity Transmission Plc. For more information on the King’s Lynn ‘B’ Connection Project please visit the Planning Inspectorate’s project page here.
Power Station Layout and Appearance
An indicative layout for the new power station (based on Option 1) and indicative 3D visualisations showing how it may appear are provided below.
What is CCGT?
The new power station would employ Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (‘CCGT’) technology. In a CCGT power station, natural gas fuel is fired in the combustion system to drive a gas turbine, which is connected to a generator to produce electricity. The hot exhaust gases generated by the gas turbine are passed through a Heat Recovery Steam Generator (‘HRSG’) to recover more of the useful heat. The HRSG provides steam to generate further electricity via a steam turbine. A cooling system is required to condense the steam used in the generation process back to water before being returned to the HRSG for re-use.
The electrical efficiency of a modern CCGT power station, dependent on technology selection, can be greater than 60%. This is considerably higher than conventional coal or oil-fired power stations, which have an efficiency of around 35-47%.
The diagram below illustrates the inputs and outputs of the CCGT generation process.
What is an OCGT/Peaking Plant?
An OCGT plant (also known as ‘peaking plant’) is a power plant that generally runs only when there is a high demand for electricity on the National Grid, known as ‘peak demand’. Such plants are used in combination with ‘base load’ power stations, which supply a dependable and consistent amount of electricity to meet the minimum demand on the National Grid.
Peaking plants are able to respond much more rapidly to increases in demand on the National Grid than conventional power stations. Any peaking plant at the Site would be substantially smaller than the CCGT units.
The diagram below illustrates how a peaking or OCGT plants operates.
What is Black Start?
Black Start is the procedure to recover from a total or partial shutdown of the electricity transmission system. Black Start capability provides individual power stations with the ability to restart independently of the transmission system (without having to rely on electricity from the transmission system).
Most power stations need an electricity supply to start up, and under normal operation this supply would come from the transmission system. However, under emergency conditions power stations with Black Start receive this electrical supply from small auxiliary generating plant located on-site. This provides the power station with a greater degree of resilience and allows it to generate electricity even when there are problems with the transmission system.
What does ‘Carbon Capture Ready’ mean?
In accordance with the EU Carbon Capture and Storage (‘CCS’) Directive, which came into force in June 2009, all fossil fuel power stations of above 300 MW electrical output need to be designed to be ‘Carbon Capture Ready’ (‘CCR’). This means that sufficient land needs to be ‘reserved’ adjacent to the power station to accommodate the deployment of any future carbon capture plant. Such plant would be used to capture the CO2 from a power station and compress it for onward transport (in a suitable CO2 pipeline) and storage in a depleted gas or oil field (likely to be offshore).
While there is no operational CO2 transport or storage infrastructure available within the UK at present it is still necessary to reserve land indefinitely should it become feasible to deploy carbon capture plant in the future. A specific amount of space is needed for each MW of generation. As the new power station would have a greater electrical output than that consented in 2009 it is therefore necessary to reserve more land for future carbon capture plant. The 3D visualisations below show the approximate extent of the land that would need to be reserved for carbon capture plant shaded in yellow.
Construction of the Project
It is envisaged that the construction of the new CCGT power station would take up to 40 months to complete and would give rise to traffic movements from the delivery of construction components and materials, removal of waste and travel to and from the Site by the construction workforce. There would also be a small number of abnormal loads required for larger construction components such as the gas and steam turbines. A travel plan would be agreed with the local highway authority prior to the construction phase to minimise construction impacts.
The Benefits of the Project
- The Project would respond to the urgent need for new electricity generating capacity in the UK in line with government policy (it could be operational by 2022).
- The deployment of an OCGT/peaking plant would provide the ability to respond rapidly to short-term increases in demand on the electricity transmission system.
- The Project would support the increased deployment of renewable energy in the UK by providing back-up electricity generation for when generation from renewable sources of energy is low.
- Gas is more efficient and results in lower CO2 emissions than other fossil fuels such as coal and oil. The new power station would also deploy the latest generation of CCGT units that are much more efficient than the units that were available on the market when the consent was first granted in 2009.
- The Project would make use of land within an industrial location than benefits from proximity to gas and electricity connections and good road access.
- The Project would have benefits for the local economy during its construction and operational phases in terms of high-quality job creation and supply chain opportunities.