Energy Centre

The Meaford Energy Centre (MEC) proposals are for a 299MWe gas-fired power station and integral gas and electricity connections.

Gas: reliable, flexible, stable

Gas-fired power station use gas to produce electricity and are a vital element of the UK’s energy mix now and in the future.

Cleaner than coal power and more flexible than wind or solar power, gas-fired power stations provide a reliable supply of electricity that complements renewables (such as solar and wind generators) by reacting to demand as required.

Power is generated to meet demand. As demand rises and falls during the day and night, generators must respond, otherwise the risk of brownouts and blackouts increases. The UK is building more renewable sources of power into its energy mix. However, wind and solar generators can only provide an intermittent supply of electricity, meaning gas still has an important role to play in keeping the supply of electricity constant.

The urgent national need – lost generating capacity

Across the UK, conventional coal and oil-fired power stations are being shut down to comply with the European Union’s Large Combustion Plant Directive. Power stations which do not comply with the requirements of this directive will have to close by 2016.

Seven existing nuclear power stations are also coming to the end of their usable lives and will be decommissioned over the next decade.

This represents a loss of around 22 GW (gigawatts) of electricity generation, or over a third of UK peak demand for electricity.

At the same time, demand for power continues to increase. As we emerge from recession, the population continues to grow and electricity is used for more purposes, such as electric cars and the electrification of the rail network.

The combination of this increased demand and the loss of longstanding sources of power makes it imperative that new sources of electricity are built and provided for.

Since we introduced our proposals to the community, the following power stations have been confirmed as closing or have already been closed.

  • Didcot A Power Station - a 2,000MW coal and gas-fired power station that closed in March 2013
  • Cockenzie Power Station - a 1,200MW oil-fired power station that closed in March 2013
  • Fawley Power Station - a 1,000MW oil-fired power station that closed in April 2013
  • Tilbury Power Station - a 750MW coal fired power station that closed in October 2013
  • Eggborough Power Station - a 2,000MW coal fired power station forecast to close as soon as September 2014
  • Littlebrook Power Station - a 1,245MW oil fired power station that closed on March 2015

Our proposed design

The MEC Power Station Complex comprises a number of buildings and integral infrastructure elements. These include:

  • One gas turbine building – to house the gas turbines that will generate electricity
  • Up to two heat recovery steam generators – to turn excess heat produced by the exhaust gases into steam
  • A steam turbine building – this houses the steam turbine that will generate additional electricity
  • An air-cooled condenser – to return steam generated by the MEC to water
  • A demineralised water plant – to treat the water used in the generation process
  • Electrical switchyard and transformers – to connect the MEC to the adjacent Barlaston substation, which is located on the MBP.

We have carefully considered the appearance of the Meaford Energy Centre and have produced indicative views based on detailed designs.

Illustrative Power Station Complex Isometric View

Our preferred layout for the Meaford Energy Centre

The technology: modern, appropriate, more efficient

The MEC proposals are for a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station. Far more efficient than traditional gas power stations, CCGT plants use both gas and steam to generate electricity.

Compressed air and natural gas are ignited and fed into a combustion turbine that drives a generator. The surplus heat generated by this process is used to create steam, which is used to drive a second turbine attached to a generator. This turns what could be waste heat into an efficient source of additional power.

In addition, the heat generated through this process potentially allows the opportunity to provide heat to businesses located at MBP. This clearly provides a compelling advantage for the business park in attracting occupiers and jobs to the area.

The process - click to enlarge