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New UK Coal-fired Plant on the Back Burner
  UK
Friday, March 13, 2009
Article Type: Reprinted
 
The Government has lengthened its decision-making process regarding whether or not to approve E.ON UK's plans to build a coal-fired power plant at Kingsnorth, Kent. A decison will not now be made until after a planned new consultation on the new conditions around coal fired power stations, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
 
"We need to go beyond what we consulted on last year. These are important and complex policy decisions and we need to take the time to make sure they are right," said Karen Perini, a spokewoman at the DECC. She declined to explain the Government's rationale for requiring further consultation - as announced recently by Ed Milliband, UK energy secretary.
 
An E.on spokesman recently told PE that the company had no idea when the UK government would make a decision on its proposal to build a 1,600MW coal-fired power station in Kent, at Kingsnorth, near Rochester. The company, though, is ready to proceed with the project as and when it gets a green light. It has yet to go to tender, but expects commissioning within 4-5 years from receiving the go-ahead.
 
Up to £1 billion will be spent installing two 800MW supercritical coal-fired units that will be much more efficient than the existing coal-fired station on the site, saving almost two million tonnes of carbon emissions annually. "If built, these units would be the first new coal build in the UK for over 20 years," said E.ON project manager Adrian Smith, "and could set a new benchmark for cleaner coal-fired generation in the UK."
 
E.on plans to equip the new plant with carbon capture and storage (CCS) capability, but admits the technology is not yet proven commercially and doesn't know when it will be. It is working on a number of development projects for different types of CCS, but Kingsnorth will use a post-combustion technology.
 
CCS technology is also scheduled for E.on's Killingholme site in Lincolnshire, where it proposes to use a pre-combustion system in a new IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) plant.
E.ON, along with BP Alternative Energy International Ltd,, Peel Power Ltd and Scottish Power Generation Ltd have been selected as the four bidders to have pre-qualified in the UK government's carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration competition. The companies were selected from nine contenders based on their responses to a pre-qualification questionnaire, submitted to the Department for Business last March.
 
The UK CCS competition is intended to support a demonstration of the full chain of CCS technologies on a commercial scale coal-fired power plant. It was launched in November 2007. The selected project should capture 90% of the CO2 emitted by the equivalent of 300-400MW generating capacity. The UK government selected post-combustion capture on coal for the demonstration project as the most likely to have the biggest impact on global CO2 emissions and because it can be retrofitted once the technology has been demonstrated at a commercial-scale.
 
The next phase of the competition will involve government discussions on technical, commercial, contractual and financial issues with the four bidders. Overall, the UK CCS project is scheduled to be operational by 2014; it remains subject to the adoption of a legislative framework for CCS, including carbon capture readiness (CCR).
 
In Scotland, local generator Scottish Power is undertaking a clean coal feasibility study for its two biggest stations, at Longannet, Fife and Cockenzie, East Lothian, which have a combined capacity of 3,390MW. The use of supercritical turbines and boilers would reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 20%. Construction would start in 2009 if the project goes ahead, with operations starting in 2012. The designs would include suitability for installation of CCS, which would involve pumping carbon emissions into deep underground coal seams and using the methane gas driven out as fuel.
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