National Power’s announcement last week to scrap the planned conversion of its Pembroke power station to Orimulsion burning, blaming a Government decision to hold a public inquiry into the project, will lose British industry about £360m.
The project would have involved the installation of flue gas desulphurisation equipment, low-NOx burners, and more electrostatic precipitators at the 2,000MW plant at an estimated cost of £450m. A spokesman for National Power said the company had expected to spend about 80% of the total in the UK.
The generator awarded a consortium of Babcock & Wilcox (McDermott), Wimpey Construction and International Combustion a contract for the design of the new units in August 1995. The contract contained a provision to cover construction, once the project had secured necessary consents.
The scheme was delayed for more than a year by planning wrangles over the construction of a jetty to import the Orimulsion, following the Sea Empress disaster. Given the lapse of time, National Power is understood to have been reviewing the contract. However, this would not have significantly affected the work placed in the UK.
But the Government’s decision to hold a public inquiry into the project – despite the Environment Agency giving it provisional clearance in 1995 – would have meant another two years delay before construction could begin. `We had expected to have clearance by mid-1996 at the latest,’ said a spokesman.
With no guarantee of consent at the end of the process and no chance of the plant producing electricity for at least five years, he said continuing with the project was `too much of a financial risk’.