Cleaner power in Essex

RWE npower hopes to build a 1600megawatt (MW) state-of-the-art cleaner coal power station to replace its existing coal-fired station in Tilbury, Essex.

The new power station would cost over £1bn to build and would be operational by 2013. It will be designed to accommodate ‘carbon capture and storage’ technology.

In an environmental ‘scoping document’ submitted to the Department of Trade and Industry today, RWE npower detailed proposals which would see the existing station replaced with two 800MW high efficiency supercritical coal-fired units.

The scoping study is a preliminary step preceding an application, under Section 36 of the Electricity Act, for consent to build the station.

The new station would have the capacity to reduce carbon emissions by 22 per cent per unit of electricity generated, which would result in a CO2 reduction of almost two million tonnes a year compared to existing coal fired plant in the UK.

The new station will also be developed to include facilities for burning carbon neutral sustainable organic fuels known as ‘biomass’.

In April last year RWE npower began a feasibility study looking into developing a clean coal power station at Tilbury including understanding the Carbon Capture and Storage options for the site.

Andy Duff, Chief Executive of RWE npower said: “Coal is a vital component of the UK’s future generation mix, but the environmental impact must be addressed. A ‘supercritical’ coal plant on its own would result in a significant net reduction in CO2 levels, but we have also chosen to make the power station ready for carbon capture and storage technology.

At this time, there are still many financial, legal, regulatory and technical hurdles to clear on CO2 transportation and storage technology. However, it is too important to ignore and we are committed to further research and development and are assessing our next steps in this area.”

npower says that Tilbury is an ideal location for a new power station because of its proximity to areas of high population and demand. The new supercritical plant would be constructed within RWE npower’s current site, with the existing station continuing to operate whilst the new units are being constructed and commissioned.

Before any firm proposals are developed a wide ranging consultation programme will be conducted with stakeholders and the local community.