Drax gets consent for 299MW gas peaker at Rookery South


Drax has been granted developmental consent by secretary of state Greg Clark for a 299MW open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) at Rookery South, a former clay pit near Stewartby, Bedfordshire.

The site is also earmarked for an energy from waste facility, the subject of long-running disputes and appeals.

Drax plans to build the plant through a subsidiary, Millbrook Power Limited. It is one of four OCGTs the company intends to build to capitalise on the growing need for flexible power generation as renewables penetration increases. It also has the option to build a large combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) at Damhead Creek in Kent as part of recent deal with Iberdrola for £700m of Scottish Power’s generation assets.

“Given the structural shift in UK generation towards intermittent renewables we expect greater power price volatility, a growing need for system support services and increasing value from flexibility,” chief executive Will Gardiner said last month.

While Drax is working on carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects, the consent order states the Rookery South plant does not need to be CCS-ready as it is below the 300MW threshold set by government. Similarly, while all new plant have to demonstrate CHP has been explored, Millbrook Power stated that there was no suitable heat offtaker in the area and that the intermittent nature of peaking plant is not suited to heat networks.

Drax hopes to bring the plant online by 2022. It will be able to run up to 2,250 hours a year, provided the five year average does not exceed 1,500 hours.

See details here.

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