ESB opens new gas-fired power station in UK

The ESB has opened the UK’s first new large gas plant in three years. The plant near Manchester began electricity generation this week.

The plant, with a capacity of 880 megawatts, can generate enough electricity to power around 1 million homes.

“Carrington Power Station is the first large-scale gas-fired power plant to come online in Great Britain since 2013,” the ESB said, adding that first commercial operations began on Monday.

“As well as providing 880MW of reliable baseload electricity, Carrington Power Station will be one of the most flexible plants providing fast back-up to intermittent wind and solar generation when it is needed most,” it said.

The plant has already secured a contract for the winter of 2019/20 under the government’s new capacity market scheme, which pays owners of power plants to provide back-up electricity at short notice.

The scheme will kick in when supply is too low to meet demand, for instance when renewable energy sources fail to produce enough power or when thermal power plants close or have failures.

Britain, which last week gave the go-ahead for EDF to build its £18 billion Hinkley C nuclear project, needs several new power plants to be built over the next decade to replace its ageing power fleet.

All but one of Britain’s existing nuclear plants, which produce around a fifth of the country’s electricity, are set to close by 2030 as the plants come to the end of their operational lifespan.