Irish utility ESB plans to invest 750 million pounds to build a new 1,500 MW gas-fired power plant in Britain which could start operating in 2018. Construction of the combined cycle power plant is expected to start in 2015 and Britain’s infrastructure planning body said it expected the project’s formal application in the first quarter of 2013. Britain faces a power capacity squeeze in the middle of this decade as polluting coal plants and ageing gas plants shut down.
Electricity market to be reformed
The UK 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.
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.