Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) plans to opt in to the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD) all of the capacity at its 2000MW Fiddler’s Ferry power station in Cheshire and half of the capacity at its 2000MW Ferrybridge power station in South Yorkshire.
To do this will require the installation of Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) and an investment estimated to be around £225m. This is in addition to SSE’s existing investment in the development of additional facilities at the stations to increase their ability to ‘co-fire’ fuels from renewable sources.
Lurgi (UK) has been appointed preferred bidder for the FGD installation work. Preliminary work has already started and is expected to be completed in time for the power stations to generate electricity through a ‘de-sulphurised’ process in the first half of 2008.
SSE acquired the Ferrybridge and Fiddler’s Ferry power stations and associated coal stocks, which have a total capacity of 4,000MW, from AEP Energy Services for £136m in July 2004.
Opting capacity at the two stations in to the LCPD means that, following the installation of the FGD equipment, restrictions on their ability to generate electricity between 2008 and 2015 will be lifted and they will be able to remain open after 2015.
The stations had been opted out of the LCPD by previous owners, which meant they were scheduled for full closure by 2015.
The electricity which the stations currently generate meets around five per cent of the demand for power in Great Britain in a typical year.
FGD equipment is designed and operated as a chemical absorption process. Injection of a limestone slurry removes at least 94 per cent of the sulphur dioxide, one of the main causes of acid rain, and produces gypsum, which is a saleable product.
In addition, SSE intends to develop new rail facilities at Fiddler’s Ferry to improve the process for delivering coal and limestone to, and handling coal at, the station.