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Clark approves gas turbine power station

Words: Laura Edgar
Artist impression of Milbrook Power Station / Drax Power

Energy secretary Greg Clark has granted development consent for a 299-megawatt (MW) open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) power station in Bedfordshire. It is considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).

The plant, developed by Drax Power, will be located at Rookery South Pit, near the villages of Millbrook, Marston Moretaine and Stewartby. It will have the ability to go from cold to full load in less than 20 minutes, the developer said, so it can respond quickly to support the grid.

The Development Consent Order (DCO) application was for the construction and operation of an OCGT. It would also include one gas turbine with one exhaust gas flue stack and supporting components – a new purpose-built access road, a temporary construction compound, a new 1.8 km long underground gas pipeline connection to bring natural gas from the National Transmission System, and an underground electrical connection of about 500m in length.

Once it is operational, Drax Power says, Millbrook Power Station will run for up to 1,500 hours a year "providing flexible, reliable power, when it’s needed most and system support services – contributing to a balanced and cost-effective electricity system, maintaining supplies for up to 150,000 homes".

Examiner Jonathan Green recommended approval of the DCO.

Andy Koss, Drax Power CEO, said: “Securing this approval from the secretary of state is a crucial step in ensuring development of the new gas generation the UK needs to provide flexible power and system support services to the electricity grid as part of the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

“Rapid response gas power stations are agile enough to ramp up quickly and support the grid at times of peak demand, making them highly complementary to intermittent renewable sources of power, like wind and solar. Flexible, reliable power stations like this are essential to provide the power Britain’s homes, businesses, transport and infrastructure need.”

Millbrook Power Station will cost up to £90 million to build, according to Drax Power, and about 150 jobs are expected to be created during the two-year construction phase. It could be generating power as soon as 2022, subject to it securing a capacity market agreement from the government.

Clark’s decision letter can be found on the NSIP website (pdf).

Image credit | Drax Power