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£63m Investment In Gas Power Station Welcome

Thursday, November 26, 2015

GMB Welcome £63 Million Investment In South Humber Bank Gas Power Station As Good News For Energy Security

Suggestions that gas will be off the grid in 2030 are seriously misguided as 80 per cent of all homes in Britain are heated by gas says GMB.

GMB, the union for energy and engineering construction workers, commented on the announcement by Centrica confirming £63m investment at South Humber Bank power station securing the future of the site up to 2027. See notes to editors for copy of Centrica press release dated Thursday, 26th November 2015.

Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Officer for Engineering Construction, said “This is great news for the power station workers and for those in the supply chain who manage and maintain this valuable generation asset.

It is also good news for energy security. There were five days since mid-October when wind was supplying 10% or less than the installed wind capacity to the grid. These were 18 and 19th October and 2nd, 3rd and 4th November.  On 4th November National Grid had to invoke special measures to keep the lights on.

There can be up to eight to ten days per month when there is not a lot of output from the 10.2 W of installed wind capacity. There has to be back up reliable and clean power supplies available to cope with this.

As the UK Government yesterday reversed the policy of investment in developing carbon capture and storage technology the only show in town now is gas and nuclear. Suggestions that gas will be off the grid in 2030 are seriously misguided as 80 per cent of all homes in Britain are heated by gas.

7.4GW of generating capacity is likely to come off at nine stations by 2016. Only one station is likely to be built in the coming year (Carrington, 900MW gas-fired station) that can provide solid, reliable power. The other major new build station – Trafford, c. 2GW – has stated there are major financing issues. See notes to editors for copy of GMB release dated 14th Oct with the details.“

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Contact: Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary on 07860 606137 or Phil Whitehurst 07968 338810 or GMB Press Office on 07921 289880 or 07974 251823.

1 Copy of Centrica press release dated Thursday, 26th November 2015

Centrica green light for major investment at South Humber Bank power station

Centrica has today (Thursday) confirmed a major investment at South Humber Bank power station, securing the future of the site up to 2027.

The company has committed to spend £63m on an overhaul of the gas turbines at the North East Lincolnshire plant that will see new turbine blades installed in partnership with GE. The part-mothballed plant will return to full service in 2017 with work expected to start the following year ready for the start of its capacity market contract in October 2018.

Jorge Pikunic, Managing Director of Centrica’s Distributed Energy and Power business, said: “This upgrade allows us to secure the future of this important power station for at least another decade.

“We were pleased to see the Government’s announcements last week signalling the important role that power stations like South Humber Bank will continue to play for UK security of supply and look forward to hearing more about their plans to support investment in the sector. The market for gas-fired generation continues to be challenging but, with the right policy landscape, we are confident it can improve.”

The 1,285MW gas-fired power station is capable of producing enough electricity to meet the needs of over one million homes – nearly half the homes in Yorkshire and the Humber. Its capacity will increase by a further 14MW as a result of the turbine upgrade.

In its strategic review announcement in July, Centrica said it would invest to maintain and improve its gas-fired generation fleet where economics allow. The Group is also exploring opportunities to invest in small scale gas peaking plants and distributed energy solutions for large business customers as part of its new international Distributed Energy and Power business. 

Ends

Notes to Editors:

South Humber Bank was built in two phases. Phase one was built between September 1994 and April 1997. Phase two was built between November 1996 and January 1999.

Phase one has been temporarily withdrawn from service from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2017, reducing the current maximum output of the power station to 540MW.

The site employs 56 people.

For more information contact: Emily Highmore-Talbot, Head of External Relations

emily.highmoretalbot@centrica.com, +44 (0) 7557 614936

2 copy of GMB press release dated 14th October 2015

AS NINE POWER STATIONS CLOSE GMB WARN THAT UK GOVERNMENT AND NATIONAL GRID ARE FAR TOO COMPLACENT ABOUT RISKS OF WIDESPREAD POWER BLACKOUTS

The Government secret plans called “Operation Black Start” to cope in the event of widespread power blackouts will not be much help says GMB

GMB, the union for energy workers, is very concerned that the UK Government and National Grid are far too complacent over an energy crunch if there is a very cold winter when existing power stations are closed in 2016.

At the end of 2014 installed capacity (all electricity) was 80.6 GW. This includes 10.2GW of wind capacity.

National Grid states that 7.4GW of capacity is likely to close by 2016. The stations are listed below.

Plant

Capacity (MW)

Longannet - coal

2260

Eggborough - coal

1940

Ferrybridge - coal

980

Littlebrook - oil

800

Wylfa - nuclear

450

Ironbridge- gas /biomass

385

Deeside - gas

260

Barry - gas

235

Roosecote-  gas

99

 

 

Peak demand (the amount needed on a cold, dark winter’s day) is about 60GW. After the nine stations close this will leave 73.2GW of installed electricity capacity.

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for energy said “If peak demand were to co-incide with a time the wind is not blowing the UK will have just 63GW of reliable, easily-dispatchable power.

No coal stations will be built because of environmental standards, the new nuclear programme is delayed and the Government is failing to get more gas-fired power stations built.

The Government has stated that interconnectors, renewables and demand-side response can deal with any shortfall. However the first two cannot be relied upon at a time of system stress and demand-side is unlikely to cover a major shortfall.

Breakdown or outages at existing stations could lead to a major shortfall and widespread power blackouts. No Government can rule out breakdown or outages at existing stations.

At a time when 7.4GW is likely to come off at nine stations only one station is likely to be built in the coming year (Carrington, 900MW gas-fired station) that can provide solid, reliable power. The other major new build station – Trafford, c. 2GW – has stated there are major financing issues.

Government should direct National Grid to alter its approach to incentives in the capacity market to deliver enough reliable electricity supplies to avoid blackout.

Government and National Grid are far too complacent. The Government secret plans called Operation Black Start”.” to cope in the event of widespread power blackouts will not be much help.”

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