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Two More CCGT Plants To Be Mothballed

August 25, 2020

By Paul Homewood


h/t stewgreen


Don’t say you were not warned!



Two power plants are to be put into a "dormant state of managed preservation" to allow administrators more time to recover costs for creditors.

The operating companies for Severn Power Station, Newport, and Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire, called them in after holding company, Newport-based energy group Calon Energy, went into administration in June.

Both plants employ 68 staff combined.

A third site, Baglan Bay Power Station, Port Talbot, is unaffected.

It is part of the group but remains under the control of its directors, said administrators at KPMG.

Joint administrator Jim Tucker said: "The recent and ongoing challenges facing the UK power market mean that these power stations are currently not generating sufficient returns to continue trading effectively.

"It has therefore been determined that the power plants will be placed into a safe and dormant state of managed preservation to provide more time to explore all options in order to recover value for the group’s creditors."

The company’s three sites all operate combined cycle gas turbines.

It had plans to build a new combined cycle gas turbine at the former Willington power station in Derbyshire. 

The two plants have a combined capacity of 1.7 GW, so represent a significant part of Britain’s CCGT base of about 30 GW. And they are not old plants either – Sutton Bridge began operations in 1999 and Severn in 2010.

Any fool could have seen this coming. Energy companies simply cannot afford to keep gas plants ticking over at such low levels of capacity, because of competition from heavily subsidised wind power.

In theory, idled capacity should be supported by Capacity Market payments, whereby the government pays for standby capacity. The price is set by auction each year.

In practice, existing generators, including coal and nuclear power stations, have hoovered up contracts at rock bottom prices. But all of the coal and most of the nuclear plants will be shut this decade, leaving a potential gap before new CCGT capacity can be built. This gap will be even more serious if other existing gas plants shut in the meantime.

  1. Curious George permalink
    August 25, 2020 6:16 pm

    Greetings from California. You can tap into our expertise with rolling blackouts.

  2. Peter F Gill permalink
    August 25, 2020 6:49 pm

    A long time ago I suggested that anyone wishing to build a “Wind Farm” should be required to provide appropriate back-up, almost certainly gas fired to enable guarantees over minimum effective generating capacity. This would have focused the mind on overall economics of wind. Of course, this suggestion has been ignored and the market further distorted in favour of intermittent sources. I have the feeling that there is a saying somewhere in the back of my n mind about chickens coming home to roost.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      August 25, 2020 8:23 pm

      Quite right!!

    • August 26, 2020 6:39 am

      You weren’t alone in saying this. Successive governments (energy ministers) either did not understand or did not want to know. The lack of understanding continues and the lessons from around the world are ignored.

  3. A C Osborn permalink
    August 25, 2020 6:51 pm

    I think that they should focus the minds by going on strike for a week.
    To show just how useless Wind & Solar are.

  4. August 25, 2020 7:01 pm

    not generating sufficient returns to continue trading effectively

    Decisions like this can only end badly for the National Grid.

  5. Jackington permalink
    August 25, 2020 8:42 pm

    Wonderful news, why if we keep going like this we’ll soon have climate change licked – is this the plan?

  6. dearieme permalink
    August 25, 2020 9:38 pm

    Once you’ve “mothballed” such a plant how much repair will be necessary before restarting it?

  7. Dick Goodwin permalink
    August 25, 2020 10:16 pm

    Time to bring back the Central Electricity Generating Board, I’m sure the EU won’t mind, they seem to have their mind on fish at the moment.

    • August 25, 2020 11:27 pm

      Everything in the British seas belongs to EU
      .. unless it’s an economic migrant,
      the EU says they all belong to the UK

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 26, 2020 4:04 pm

      I don’t see what it would have to do with the EU as we are no longer members. What would having the CEGB do better if the energy policy is the same? Having a nationalised board would probably make it worse as there would be less understanding of economics not more.

  8. August 26, 2020 3:11 am

    And Greetings from Asia where our progress in economics, technology, lifestyle, and climate insanity lags the West by a few decades and maybe a century. We aren’t there yet. We’re still in the fifties.

  9. EyeSee permalink
    August 26, 2020 11:23 am

    No, we don’t need to make payments for idling, we need to use them properly and get rid of the subsidy farms and their windmills of the mind.

  10. jack broughton permalink
    August 26, 2020 12:00 pm

    Combined cycles are not the best solution to rapid load response of short duration. In fact, they are damaged by the large number of cycles that they are being exposed to.

    A better solution is a mix of CCGTs and OCGTs, the CCGTs for longer term operational duty. Aero-derived gas turbines are the ideal answer for OCGT use as they are more efficient and are designed for rapid start. They can be easily converted for use in CCGT form if needed.

    Additionally if we installed the required back up for non-reliable generation it might maintain Rolls Royce as a major supplier. This should follow Trump’s edict about keeping essential supply in the UK, an anathema to our technically-illiterate leadership unfortunately. Drax are proposing an OCGT scheme using imported heavy duty gas turbines, which we will obviously subsidise!. The only sensible justification for Heavy Duty machines in OCGT mode would be if poor fuel grades were to be used – totally improbable in the UK

  11. Ariane permalink
    August 27, 2020 3:32 pm

    Remember when most people in the UK voted in New Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem MPs et al who altogether, presumably with support from the electorate, voted in the 2008 UK Climate Change Act with the Renewables Obligations, Cllimate Change Committee and their Carbon Budgets? Remember then?

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