ScottishPower today (17 May) unveiled a feasibility study to convert its two biggest power stations to clean coal technology in what would be the largest project of its type in Europe.
Alstom Power and Doosan Babcock will provide the design input for the 'supercritical' turbines and boilers that could be fitted at the Longannet and Cockenzie power plants.
Carbon emissions would be reduced by 20% at the stations which have a total generation capacity of 3390MW, more than a quarter of Scotland’s electricity needs.
The new 'supercritical' turbines and boilers, which will burn coal at ultra-high temperatures and pressure, may be built within the existing power station buildings in Fife and East Lothian. If a decision to proceed is taken, it would involve large-scale investments by ScottishPower. Last month ScottishPower and Iberdrola completed a transaction that created Europe’s third largest electricity group by enterprise value.
Speaking at Longannet power station today where he met and discussed the plans with new Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, Iberdrola Chairman and Chief Executive, Ignacio Galán, said: “As a world leader in renewable energy Iberdrola is committed to developing the best environmental and technological practices. We are delighted that today’s announcement puts ScottishPower on track to deliver a revolutionary change in low carbon energy generation in Scotland”.
The phased 19-month development foresees both stations continuing to operate at a reduced capacity while the new facility is constructed.
Following three years of preparation, the commissioning of this scheme pushes ScottishPower into the forefront of international clean-coal technology and builds on the current £170m installation of Flue Gas Desulphurisation at Longannet.
If the proposal proceeds, construction could start in 2009 with operations beginning in 2012, further extending the lives of both plants and providing Scotland with low-carbon base-load electricity for the foreseeable future.
In addition, the clean coal plants would provide highly efficient and flexible support for Scotland’s renewable generation.
The refitted stations will also be designed to incorporate carbon capture technology currently being developed at Longannet. The scheme involves pumping carbon emissions from the station into deep underground coal seams to drive out methane gas which can then be used as a fuel. The carbon emissions remain trapped in the coal seams.
Media Information: Simon McMillan 0141 566 4875/ 07753 622 257