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Gas Turbines

Volume 175: debated on Monday 25 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the number and location of gas turbine projects for the production of electricity in England and Wales.

There is substantial interest in using gas both by existing generators and by those wishing to enter the generating market. I will arrange for the list to be published in the Official Report.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that because of the low growth in electricity consumption, many of the 10,000 MW projects will not be required, unless there is a massive closure of coal-fired power stations? Is he further aware that a gas generator producing 350 MW will emit 1 million tonnes of CO2 per annum and that coal is even worse? Is not that a good argument why we should now have a further nuclear power station, as nuclear power is the cleanest of the lot and will keep the industry together?

I listen to my hon. Friend with considerable interest because of his expertise. In the new regime, it will be for the owners of power stations to determine what they see as the market. Electricity demand is forecast to rise over the next 10 years. All commentators seem to agree on that, although they differ on the rate of increase. The current surplus of capacity is likely to come to an end within the next few years. Net capacity needs to be ordered soon if it is to meet the forecast increase in demand. Capacity is also needed to replace existing capacity. Power stations may come to the end of their life, they may be less efficient or more costly than new power stations, or the cost of reducing emissions may be too high compared with the cost of a nuclear plant.

Does the Secretary of State agree that to follow the line of his hon. Friend the Member for Bedfordshire, North (Sir T. Skeet), which is to sterilise millions of tonnes of coal by closures in the coal industry, would be a short-sighted medium-term policy? Once gas was not available and the millions of tonnes of coal were sterilised, we should have to rely on competitors. Would that be a wise policy?

The Government's policy is to encourage a diversity of fuels, but combined cycle gas turbine power stations are friendly to the environment. For every unit of CO2 emitted from a coal-fired station, just over half a unit is emitted from a CCGT station.

Following is the information:

The following combined cycle gas turbine generating (CCGT) stations have been given planning consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989:

National Power plcKillingholme, South Humberside
PowerGen plcKillingholme, South Humberside

The following applications for consent for CCGT generating stations are still being considered:

National Power plcLittle Barford, Bedfordshire
PowerGen plcRye House, Hertfordshire

I have also been notified by Deeside Power Development Co. Ltd. of its intention to submit an application for consent for a CCGT generating station at Shotton, north Wales.

The following projects have been given approval under section 14(1) of the Energy Act 1976, that is, to establish an electricity generating station to be fuelled by natural gas, or for the conversion of an electricity generating station with a view to its being so fuelled:

Berisford Bristar plcBrigg, South Humberside
Hawker Siddley/ Eastern Electricity plcPeterborough
John Brown Engineering Ltd.Rugby, Warwickshire
Midlands Electricity plcHereford
National Power plcKillingholme, South Humberside
National Power plcLittle Barford, Bedfordshire
Nat West Bank plcLondon
PowerGen plcRye House, Hertfordshire
Ranger Oil/PowerGenSouth Denes, Great Yarmouth
Shell UK Exploration and ProductionShellhaven, Essex
Thames PowerBarking, London

The following projects have received approval under both sections 14(1) and 14(2) of the Energy Act 1976, that is, to establish an electricity generating station fuelled by natural gas and to enter into contractual arrangements for obtaining a supply of natural gas as fuel for an electricity generating station, or to extend any such arrangements:

British Sugar Ltd.Bury St. Edmunds
British Sugar plcWissington, Suffolk
BP Chemicals Ltd.Baglan Bay, West Glamorgan
The Boots Company plcBeeston, Nottingham
Hawker SiddleyCorby, South Humberside
ICI plcWinnington, Cheshire
ICI plcWilton, Cleveland
Kodak Ltd.Wealdstone, London
Lakeland PowerRoosecote, Cumbria
Leicester EnergyLeicester
London Transport ExecutiveLots road, Chelsea
London Transport ExecutiveGreenwich generating station
PowerGen plcKillingholme, South Humberside
Slough EstatesSlough
Thames Board Ltd.Workington