The Wrexham Energy Centre proposals are for a 299MWe combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station.
Gas: reliable, flexible, stable
CCGT power stations use gas to produce electricity and are a vital element of the UK’s energy mix now and in the future and their development are supported by Government Policy.
Cleaner than coal power and more flexible than wind or solar power, gas-fired power stations provide a reliable supply of electricity that complements intermittent renewable generation (such as solar and wind generators) by reacting to demand as required.
Power is generated to meet demand. As demand rises and falls during the day and night, generators must respond, otherwise the risk of brownouts and blackouts increases. The UK is building more renewable sources of power into its energy mix. However, wind and solar generators can only provide an intermittent supply of electricity, meaning gas still has an important role to play in keeping the supply of electricity constant.
The urgent national need – lost generating capacity
Across the UK, conventional coal and oil-fired power stations are being shut down for a variety of reasons including the Large Combustion Plant Directive, age and obsolescence and economic factors.
Seven existing nuclear power stations are also coming to the end of their usable lives and will be decommissioned over the next decade.
This represents a loss of around 22 GW (gigawatts) of electricity generation, or over a third of UK peak demand for electricity.
At the same time, demand for power continues to increase. As we emerge from recession, the population continues to grow and electricity is used for more purposes, such as electric cars and the electrification of the rail network.
The combination of this increased demand and the loss of longstanding sources of generation makes it imperative that new sources of electricity are built and provided for.
Since we introduced our proposals to the community, the following power stations have been confirmed as closing or have already been closed.
- Didcot A Power Station - a 2,000MW coal and gas-fired power station that closed in March 2013
- Cockenzie Power Station - a 1,200MW oil-fired power station that closed in March 2013
- Fawley Power Station - a 1,000MW oil-fired power station that closed in April 2013
- Tilbury Power Station - a 750MW coal fired power station that closed in October 2013
- Eggborough Power Station - a 2,000MW coal fired power station forecast to close as soon as September 2014
- Littlebrook Power Station - a 1,245MW oil fired power station that will now be closed in March 2015 instead of December 2015
- Ironbridge Power Station - a 1,000MWe coal-fired power station that closed in November 2015
- Ferrybridge Power Station - a 1,000MWe coal-fired power station that closed in March 2016
- Rugeley Power Station - a 1,000MWe coal-fired power station that will close in summer 2016
Wrexham Energy Centre’s Power Station Complex
Wrexham Energy Centre’s Power Station Complex comprises a number of buildings and integral infrastructure elements. These include:
- Up to two turbine halls – to house the gas turbines that will generate electricity
- Up to two heat recovery steam generators – to turn excess heat produced by the exhaust gases into steam
- A steam turbine hall – this houses the steam turbine that will generate additional electricity
- An air-cooled condenser – to return steam generated by the Wrexham Energy Centre to water
- Up to two stacks - to disperse emissions from the gas turbines
- A demineralised water plant – to treat the water used in the generation process
- A heat interface building - to enable the supply of surplus heat from the power station to nearby businesses on the industrial estate, subject to demand
- An electrical switchyard and transformers to enable the Wrexham Energy Centre to connect to the local electrical distribution network
Wrexham Energy Centre’s Power Station Complex Site is an onshore power station with a generating capacity of over 50MWe which qualifies it as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). NSIPs require a planning permission known as a Development Consent Order (DCO) granted by the relevant Secretary of State. We have made a DCO application for the Power Station Complex Site to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, which has been accepted for examination.
To function, the Wrexham Energy Centre needs both a gas connection and an electrical connection.