Centrica’s 386MW gas-fired power station at King’s Lynn, Norfolk, is now fully commissioned.
It is the first CCGT delivered in the UK since the introduction of the Capacity Market (CM), designed to ensure security of supply and incentivise new build power stations facing revenue uncertainty in the face of near zero marginal cost renewables.
Centrica secured a 15-year agreement for King’s Lynn in the 2016 T-4 auction, which cleared at £22.50/kW/year, the highest clearing price to date.
However, prices have since collapsed and so far the CM has mostly paid older power stations to provide power over winter if required, and incentivised new small diesel and gas peaking plant, along with some demand-side response and battery storage.
As coal and older thermal generation comes off stream, CM prices may eventually rise sufficiently to incentivise larger new build thermal plant. SSE’s 910MW Keadby 2 CCGT, which is under construction, is set to bid in the proposed T-3 auction. Drax also has planning permission to convert two coal units to gas.
Siemens provided the turbines for King’s Lynn and is also the supplier for Keadby 2, which it states will deliver 63 per cent efficiency in combined cycle operations, the highest in the UK, enabling it to run more frequently than less efficient plant.
With the UK Capacity Market cleared to recommence by the European Commission, generators holding CM agreements will shortly receive money withheld since last winter. New generators, such as King’s Lynn, can also look forward to being paid.