Gas-fired plant '˜needed to keep the lights on'

Planners are recommending the green light for a large gas-fired power plant in open countryside despite criticism that it will be a blot on the landscape.

File pic: The new power plant will provide back-up power at short notice
File pic: The new power plant will provide back-up power at short notice

The 49.95MW plant proposed by Statera Energy near the village of Cottingham in East Yorkshire will swing into action to meet periods of peak demand.

The plant - one of the first of its kind in the area - will provide back-up power for as many as 50,000 homes at short notice.

So-called peaking plants are being built across the UK - there are plans for another 21MW plant at Staithes Road, Preston in East Yorkshire - to avoid potential blackouts as unreliable renewables like wind become increasingly part of the energy mix.

A report says: “For the majority of time the station would be switched off waiting instruction from National Grid to generate, generally on weekdays between 8am and 8pm.

“Outside of these hours it is only likely to be required during a major power shortage or in an emergency situation.”

But it has attracted objections from Skidby Parish Council which feels the scale of the project is too big and will be an “eyesore in the open countryside.”

The 11m high building, which will be built a few hundred metres from the giant National Grid Creyke Beck sub station, will have 33 chimneys sticking out up to 4m above the roof.

The parish council feels the scale of the project is too big and it will be an “eyesore in the open countryside.”

Skidby Parish Council said photmontages showing what the plant would look like after landscaping “does the project no favours,” adding: “There are major concerns regarding noise, air pollution (33 chimney emissions) and any adverse effects that could result in problems on the drainage systems in the open countryside.”

They are also concerned about the impact of 50 HGVs travelling a day to the site during the 12-15 month construction period.

Cottingham councillor Ros Jump is in favour as long as the country lane which will be used by construction traffic is reinstated after work is finished.

She said: “The power companies say we don’t have as many peaks and troughs now when everyone rushes to boil a kettle on a Coronation Street break, but we do need something in place, so they can literally flick a switch and have power.

“The wind doesn’t always blow and sometimes blows too hard so turbines have to be switched off.

“The other benefit is that the carbon dioxide it will generate will go to heat nearby greenhouses. Creyke Beck is not an object of beauty and they have snuggled it (the new plant) up to the edge of the facility and once all the trees and greenery that they plant grows it will merge in. If we want the lights to stay on we have to have things like this - it’s a compromise.”

Officers, who are recommending approval at a meeting on Thursday, say the building will look like a large agricultural building and will make “an important contribution to energy supply.”