The existing Tilbury coal-fired power station is scheduled to close under European regulations governing power-station emissions (the Large Combustion Plant Directive) by the end of 2015.
Kevin McCullough, chief technical officer for RWE npower, said: ‘This is just an option at this stage, but our Tilbury site is an excellent one for power generation. It has good energy infrastructure and is close to areas of high electricity demand. Gas generation has a part to play in our energy mix alongside coal, renewables and nuclear projects.’
A new modern gas station could provide up to 2,000MW of power.
The company said in November 2009 that it would not be proceeding with a consent application for a 1,600MW cleaner coal plant at the site because the economic conditions were not supportive for coal projects.
An area of the site has been identified for the potential fitting and enablement of CO2 capture and storage technologies (CCS) in the future, if and when this technology becomes viable.
One CCS method that may be considered is integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) technology. IGCC is a process where coal can be turned into a gas and used as a fuel for the CCGT power station, with the resulting CO2 being captured and removed for permanent storage.
McCullough added: ‘The development of CCS technologies is essential if we are to meet national carbon emissions targets and maintain secure supplies of electricity. We are already developing a CO2 capture pilot plant at our coal station in Aberthaw, South Wales. A modern gas station at the Tilbury site would be CCS ready and, in the future, could enable us to capture CO2 from our plant using this alternative technology.’
The existing Tilbury ‘B’ Power Station can generate 1,063MW of power and began operating in 1968.