The proposed Hirwaun Power project will be located on Hirwaun Industrial Estate on industrial-zoned land 5ha in size. It lies adjacent to the A465 - grid reference SN 938 061.
The proposed Hirwaun Power project will be located on the Hirwaun Industrial Estate which lies adjacent to the A465 Head of the Valley dual carriageway from Swansea to Abergavenny. It is approximately 1.3km north east of Rhigos, 2 km west of Hirwaun and 5 km west of Aberdare. The proposed project will be located on industrial-zoned land currently occupied by an industrial building used for storage and distribution.
Gas-fired Power Generation
Because of environmental regulations and the government’s drive to a low carbon economy, a number of ageing gas-fired power stations in the UK will close in the very near future whilst renewable generation, primarily wind power, is set to increase. A number of ageing nuclear stations are also set to close during this period leaving a large shortfall in the country’s generating capacity.
A significant amount of new investment in modern gas-fired generation is therefore required by the end of this decade and beyond to ensure adequate security of energy supply. A large proportion of this new investment must be in flexible generation plants that can respond quickly and efficiently to short-term variations in demand and “intermittent” output from onshore and offshore wind power.
Gas is affordable, reliable and flexible, and is acknowledged by the UK Government as being essential to a low carbon economy. Modern gas-fired power plants are among the most efficient forms of electricity power generation and emit at least 50% less carbon dioxide than existing coal-fired plant. They can therefore contribute significantly to the reduction of the country’s carbon emissions.
The Hirwaun Power Station would operate as a Simple Cycle Gas Turbine peaking plant and would be designed to provide an electrical output of up to 299 Megawatts using the very latest and most efficient power systems technology. It will burn natural gas to generate electricity for delivery into the National Grid Electricity Transmission System. The power station will be designed to operate as a “peaking plant” so that it can respond quickly and efficiently to short term variations in customer demand and intermittent output from onshore and offshore wind power.
Peaking plants are required to operate when there is a surge in demand for electricity associated with a particular event (e.g. where many people across the country boil kettles following the end of a popular television programme) or where there is a sudden drop in power being generated from plants which are constantly operational (e.g. a sudden outage).
The scheme’s output will have the potential to supply power for up to 400,000 homes. The proposed plant at Hirwaun is expected to operate for up to 1500 hours per year.
Hirwaun Power will deliver electricity to the National Grid Electricity Transmission System at high voltage. Having considered and consulted on a number of options including overhead lines, Hirwaun Power has decided to connect to the nearby Rhigos Substation via an underground cable along Main Avenue and Fourteenth Avenue within Hirwaun Industrial Estate.
Hirwaun Power will have natural gas supplied via the National Transmission System. Connection options were shared with the local public and statutory bodies and their views sought. After careful consideration of all responses during the consultation process, Hirwaun Power decided to connect to the National Transmission System on the east side of the A4061, via a dedicated underground pipeline.
Members of the public were consulted about the grid connection as part of the overall programme of consultation for the whole scheme.