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3bn coal power plant will test Miliband's environment rules

 
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Aurora



Joined: 24 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:10 am    Post subject: 3bn coal power plant will test Miliband's environment rules Reply with quote

Quote:
The Guardian - 12/03/10

The first application to build a coal plant in Britain since energy secretary Ed Miliband introduced tough new environmental rules will be submitted next week, the Guardian has learnt.

UK-based conglomerate Peel Group is pressing ahead with the 3bn project to build a 1.6GW plant at Hunterston in Scotland, which will partially fit experimental carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. Its former partner, Dong Energy, dropped out last year, citing the recession. The application, which is expected to be submitted to the Scottish government on Monday, signals Peel's confidence that the unproven technology can work.

Hunterston is likely to become the UK's first CCS plant, ahead of the controversial Kingsnorth project in Kent, which E.ON still hopes to build.

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enso



Joined: 11 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I happen to live a couple of miles from Hunterston so have some interest in this.

I am not sure how the article reaches the conclusion that Peel's proposal will be the furthest developed UK CCS project or how it will become the UK's first CCS plant.

At Longannet on the east coast, where there is actually already a coal-fired powerstation, Scottish Power have an operational facility for testing removal of carbon dioxide from the exhaust gases. At the moment they cannot sequester any but it seems that this is intended to be the next step. Longannet has just won further money to help develop this and have the advantage of being located close to the North Sea and the associated oil and gas fields/infrastructure for carbon sequestration.

Hunterston, on the other hand, does not presently have a coal powerstation so I fail to see how this proposal can be considered to be ahead of Longannet. (There is an adjacent EDF nuclear powerstation, due to close in 2016 but this is a separate issue entirely). Peel's original proposal (in the guise of Ayrshire Power Ltd) was for a 'CCS ready' plant at Hunterston but now in the light of the legislative requirement for a proportion of CCS from the start have had to revise their plans. Hunterston is on the Firth of Clyde, a long way from suitable geological formations for carbon dioxide storage. This would presumably require construction of either an expensive pipeline from the west coast, through central Scotland and to somewhere on the east coast and onwards to the North Sea, or alternatively to remove carbon dioxide by ship to some as yet unknown facility for receiving, handling and then sequestering it. The Hunterston proposal is therefore commercially and technically dubious in my opinion and there is considerable local opposition to introducing a fossil-fuel powerstation into the area. Incidentally, the site of the proposed powerstation is also on a SSSI.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

enso wrote:
Incidentally, the site of the proposed powerstation is also on a SSSI.


That's par for the course - Trampling on the natural world.

And a plant that size won't be CHP either so at least 3.2GW of heat is going to be wasted.
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enso



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal wrote:
enso wrote:
Incidentally, the site of the proposed powerstation is also on a SSSI.


That's par for the course - Trampling on the natural world.


Yep, the plans involve infilling much of the mudflat habitat to artificially create raised land for siting the powerstation. I understand that the SSSI designation is coming up for renewal (I think they have something like a 40year period after which they have to be reviewed) and the protaganists are taking the position that 30+ years of the adjacent coal/ore terminal have degraded the habitat to such an extent that it is no longer of conservation value. I heard a rumour that the developers were possibly going to press for removal of SSSI status on that basis. The RSPB rather unsurprisingly take a different view but more importantly it remains to be seen what Scottish Natural Heritage have to say (SNH are the equivalent of Natural England) which will become clearer once the planning application is lodged. Not that SNH objections cannot be overruled by central government.

kenneal wrote:
And a plant that size won't be CHP either so at least 3.2GW of heat is going to be wasted.


Quite. Another example of why this is such a badly thought out proposal.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The site would be vulnerable to a sea level rise of 5m, Enso. See http://flood.firetree.net/

I suppose the coal fired station is to replace Hunterston B due to be removed from service in 2016, which is also vulnerable to flooding.
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enso



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, as essential infrastructure it will need to be protected from the 0.1% annual probability flood which will add further cost and complexity given the coastal location.

From the SNP government's point of view I think you are probably right that they see this as replacing Hunterston B. In my opinion, whilst I remain unconvinced that nuclear is anywhere near the top of the list of things we should be doing it would be the lesser of the two evils. Also, a Hunterston C would not involve destruction of the SSSI as this would be sited within the boundary of the existing EDF/British Energy site. The coal station is proposed by Peel whose subsidiary Clydeport own the existing ore terminal and some of the foreshore. Hence the requirement to infill the mudflats to make room for a powerstation within the Clydeport site boundary. Also, irrespective of the coal proposal and despite the SNP anti-nuclear position we may still see plans submitted for Hunterston C yet......
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