Pembroke Power Station - second best

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Pembroke Power Station - second best

Post  MH on Fri 6 Feb 2009 - 2:42

I have mixed reactions about the decision to build a 2000MW gas power station in Pembroke.



BBC, 5 Feb 2008

In one sense the decision was inevitable, South Wales lost a major part of its generating capacity when the old oil fired station closed, and that capacity does need to be replaced. South Wales is currently a net importer of electricity; when this station is built, it won't be.

Also gas is the cleanest and most flexible form of fossil fuel. Much better to have a gas fired station than coal. If, as I hope, we develop more renewable energy generation, it will mean that we can afford to close Aberthaw. Gas is the best fossil fuel way of backing up the intermittency of wind power because it takes so little time to fire up from cold.

But I think that the scale of the power station is wrong. It would be much better to have a series of smaller Combined Heat and Power stations, each linked to either an industrial or housing development that could use the exhaust heat. Under this scheme, the waste heat will just be discharged into the haven, with the risk of ecological damage.


The Energy Secretary explored the option of combined heat and power but "considered the distances to be covered to provide heat to those developments would effectively mean that any steam would condensate by the time it reached there."
Precisely, you simply can't bring enough potential users of the waste heat so close to a huge power station, so you need a series of smaller stations sited where the potential users are. We are getting a second best solution, but second best is still better than bad (coal) or worse (nuclear).

If anyone's interested, here are more details of the station:

Pembroke Power Station, Non-Technical Summary

One thing that seems particularly out of place now is the lack of any facility for carbon capture. I know this is not a proven technology, especially because there are no obvious places to permanently store it. But large LPG tankers are going to be coming to Milford Haven from the Middle East and perhaps other places. These are going to go back empty. There are certainly gas fields that could benefit from pumping CO2 into the field to get the last reserves of gas out. So there is a potential for two-way traffic. I'd like to see at least a feasibility study.
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Re: Pembroke Power Station - second best

Post  Draig32 on Thu 12 Feb 2009 - 2:16

CHP was never going to happen at this site. National Grid have spent the last 4 years upgrading the connecting powerlines from the old Pennar site - in anticipation of this approval. It was always a done deal. From the point of view of CHP it's just on the wrong side of the Haven. There was another application in for a site on the more populated side of the Haven - by a company called Milford Power for a 1600mw plant - but this was withdrawn. This plan could have been more readily adapted to local needs -but local needs were never a consideration here.

The reason Pembroke 1 has been approved now is that the first LNG tanker is on the way. Unfortunately this tanker - the Tembek - will be forced to sit off the coast of Cornwall for the time being because South Hook's main works contractor have lost the electrical wiring plans for the whole site and have had to send in their electricians to find out what goes where. I kid you not.

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Re: Pembroke Power Station - second best

Post  MH on Fri 13 Feb 2009 - 21:05

Thanks for the insight, Draig. I do seem to remember reading about plans for two power stations in Pembrokeshire. I take it that the second is now dead. As a gas expert perhaps you could say something about the gas fired station in Port Talbot mentioned on Wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Talbot_Power_Station

I saw reports of this being 1300MW or 1100MW, by an Irish company (from memory). But this too seems to have died. Perhaps it was replaced by the Prenergy wood-buring proposal.

http://www.prenergypower.com/

It is hard to piece together all the different strands of energy production in Wales. But we do seem to lack any coherent policy. Of course this is largely due to the 50MW split responsibility between Westminster and the Assembly. I remember you saying on another blog that we in Wales should be speaking out on the matter, Jane Davidson in particular, even though we might not have power to change anything. A clear voice can still be very effective.

I also think I might have made a mistake before about Pembroke Power Station being needed to make up for the generation shortfall in South Wales. On another blog you mentioned the new 850MW Severn Power station at Uskmouth. I did some calulations over the new year, but lost the spreadsheet. I've now found it, and I think you are right to say that when Severn Power is operational, South Wales will once again be producing enough electricity to meet its own needs. But only just.

If you're interested I've put the spreadsheet here. It's a very rough work in progress, but I'd welcome any input you might have to get the complete picture:

Installed Capacity Wales

I've included installed capacity and capacity/load factors, so as to give a percentage of how much each contributes to Wales' total needs, which I've called at 22TWh/year. Pembroke on its own, operating at an average CCGT load factor of 63%, would produce almost exactly half of Wales' total need, North and South.

So Wales on it's own doesn't need anything this big. Wales is being used as a place to generate electricity for England ... and perhaps Ireland with the new interconnectors. Our own needs (let alone local needs) have got nothing to do with it. We're being stitched up.
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Re: Pembroke Power Station - second best

Post  Draig32 on Tue 17 Feb 2009 - 2:59

There seems to be a lot of speculation going on around Port Talbot. Let me try and break it down:

1) January 2007 Acorn Power submit planning application for a 1300mw plant at Baglan Bay. This plant was a section 36 consent but Neath Port Talbot objected to it. It seems to have passed to ESB at some point, but in the most recent BERR application list it does not appear at all. It would have been due for a public enquiry mid 2008.

http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/energy/markets/consents/applications/page23224.html

2) In August of last year, however, a new application was lodged for another gas-fired station - Abernedd Power. This plant will (or would have been) owned by BP (who have a longstanding connection with Baglan Bay - they still own much of the land) and has a proposed capacity of 870 MW. However, it seems that towards the end of last year BP decided they wanted to offload the rights to the development and they are now up for sale. Welsh Power, who are developing the new Uskmouth plant, have expressed an interest.

It's probably no coincidence that BP decided to sell the rights towards the end of September last year - when the Credit Crisis really began to kick in...

Thanks for the link to the spreadsheet too. You really take a lot of time with this stuff, which always impresses me. I can't see anything in there that I can add, I probably know more about proposed developments at the moment!

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