SSE to build new CCGT and halve generation emissions by 2030

One of the ‘big six’ energy supply majors, SSE, is to collaborate with Siemens in building a new gas-fired power station at Keadby in North Lincolnshire and has also set a new ambition to halve the carbon intensity of the electricity it generates over the next 12 years.

The company says it plans for capital and investment expenditure of £6bn across the UK and Ireland over the next five years, which also includes upgrading electricity networks in the north of Scotland and central southern England and developing new sources of renewable energy, including offshore wind.

Part of this investment is £350mn for the construction of a new 840 MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station at Keadby 2 which, once completed will be the most efficient CCGT on the UK electricity system at around 63%, says SSE. Siemens will provide its 9000HL gas turbine technology and will manage technical construction risk until the plant is handed over to SSE, as well as providing ongoing performance guarantees.

SSE already operates a 735 MW CCGT at Keadby, as well as the adjacent 68 MW Keadby Wind Farm, England’s largest onshore wind facility.

SSE says it believes that the UK’s capacity market is still the right mechanism to ensure the GB electricity system remains secure at the lowest cost to consumers – alongside wholesale market and ancillary services revenues, capacity market payments will remain an important aspect of the economics of Keadby 2.

The decision to invest in Keadby 2 is compatible with the company’s new ambition to achieve a further 50% reduction in the carbon intensity of electricity it generates, to around 150 g/kWh by 2030, says SSE. Once operational, Keadby 2 should reduce carbon emissions for the overall electricity system by reducing the need for older, lower efficiency CCGTs to operate.

Speaking of Keadby 2, Martin Pibworth, SSE’s Wholesale Director, said: ‘Its highly efficient technology, not previously seen in the UK, will provide firm, reliable power from the early 2020s at half the carbon emissions of the coal generation it is replacing.’

Across the UK and Ireland, SSE has over 11 GW of electricity generating capacity. Following the UK’s Climate Change Act 2008, the company set itself a target to cut the carbon intensity of the electricity it generates by 50% between 2006 and 2020, meeting that target in March 2017.

However, given new efforts by both the UK and Irish governments – the UK’s Clean Growth Strategy and Ireland’s National Mitigation Plan – SSE says it has now considered its carbon intensity ambitions for the period to 2030, aiming to reduce the carbon intensity of its electricity production by a further 50% by 2030, based on 2017/18 levels.

If this target is met, the company’s carbon emissions from electricity generation would be around 150 gCO2e/kWh by 2030, which represents a 75% cut based on its original 2006 baseline.

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