Chocks away! Gas plant proposed on WW2 airfield

A gas-fired power plant could be built on a former airfield used during World War Two. A new UK energy developer Progress Power wants to build the £200million plant on […]

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By Vicky Ellis

A gas-fired power plant could be built on a former airfield used during World War Two. A new UK energy developer Progress Power wants to build the £200million plant on the Eye Airfield in Suffolk.

Eye Airfield already hosts two wind turbines and the Eye chicken litter power plant and has an area the Mid-Suffolk Council believes could become an Energy Park.

The plant could pump tens of millions of pounds into the local economy, support hundreds of jobs during construction and create up to 30 new full time jobs when operational, says Progress Power.

The proposed plant will produce up to 299 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to supply around 400,000 homes, by taking gas from the nearby National Gas Transmission System and feeding electricity produced back into the National Grid.

The firm is holding meetings next week to talk with people in the local community before it applies for consent from the planning body, the DCO.

Chris McKerrow, Project Manager for Progress Power which is owned by Edinburgh-based energy firm Watt Power said: “This will be an ultra-modern and clean facility and a very significant investment in the local economy.” He said gas power stations are good to plug the gap left by other ‘dirtier’ fossil fuel plants.

Mr McKerrow went on: “A significant number of coal and oil-fired power stations in the UK are set to close in the near future and will need to be replaced. It is accepted that new electricity generating capacity is needed to meet energy demand in the UK in the near future. In addition, gas fired power stations will provide back-up to the intermittency of renewable power and support the country’s transition to a low carbon economy.”

A couple of firms in the UK are said to be considering closing gas plants or waiting to build new ones until electricity market reform sets out clear support for gas. However a spokesman for the firm told ELN they were “hopeful” the Government will enable new investment in gas power.

The spokesman added there was definitely a “role” in the market for independent plant operators alongside the Big Six and this could increase competition in the market.