Gas-fired power plant

Irish utility ESB to build �750m UK gas-fired power plant

ESB will invest £750m into building a new 1,500-megawatt (MW) gas-fired power plant which could start operating in 2018.

The power plant, which will run on modern combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) technology, will be on a former chemical works site at Knottingley near Leeds, and will require around 1,100 workers during construction and create up 50 permanent jobs once operational.

Plant construction is expected to start in 2015 and Britain's infrastructure planning body, which manages applications of large infrastructure projects, said it expected the project's formal application in the first quarter of 2013.

The UK faces a power capacity squeeze in the middle of this decade as polluting coal plants and ageing gas plants shut down.

The government is in the process of addressing the supply issue and at the same time creating a less polluting energy sector by reforming its electricity market.

It has proposed to guarantee producers of low-carbon energy, which gas plants are excluded from, a minimum electricity price and building a system of back-up capacity to intermittent renewable energy, mainly aimed at gas plants.

"Final investment decisions are always made with reference to market conditions but we believe there is a market for new gas plants on this timescale in the current market or the one that will be created by EMR (Electricity Market Reform)," said Knottingley Power public affairs manager Simon James.

The government also recently fixed a maximum carbon emissions level for power plants until 2045, meaning gas-fired plant, whose emissions generally fall below the set level, will not face new pollution limits for another 30 years, an issue which had previously left gas plant investors anxious.

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