Uskmouth Power Station Conversion Project
Status: in Pre – Construction
Simec Atlantis Energy Ltd. (“Atlantis”) are the developer, owner and operator of the Uskmouth Power Station Conversion Project located in Newport, Wales.
The Uskmouth Power Station built in 1959 is a 3 unit coal fired power generation plant with total gross capacity of 393MW. The Uskmouth conversion represents a world first, ground breaking project to convert a coal fired power station to generate electricity in an economically viable and sustainable way through the combustion of waste derived fuel pellets, manufactured to a rigorous specification. We plan initially to convert 2 of the 3 units to combust waste derived fuel pellets rather than coal, producing a net output of 220MW. The third unit could be converted in the future, however if that occurs it will be the subject to future regulatory processes.
Sustainable generation of baseload electricity
The Uskmouth Conversion project aims to service the continuing need to provide ‘on demand’ electrical generation which in turn supplements generation from intermittent renewable energy sources . Many renewable energy sources cannot be accurately predicted and technology cannot provide large scale electricity storage to even out differences in generation and demand. Therefore, baseload power stations are required to produce electricity when it is needed.
As an additional benefit the electricity produced also has potential to be utilised by local industry, providing an opportunity to bolster the local economy through power purchase directly from Uskmouth avoiding network and supplier charges associated with the retail electricity market.
Utilising presently non recyclable waste streams to develop fuel pellets
At Uskmouth we are conscious of the need to address the problem of waste, and plastics in particular, in a way which optimises value recovery and responsible disposal. There is growing public concern regarding what happens to our waste, and we think this will drive measures to reduce non-recyclable packaging and other forms of waste in the medium term.
However, this will take time and in the interim the production of waste derived fuel pellets to replace coal in existing power stations is expected to represent an economically viable way to put these materials to good use rather than going to landfill, incineration or export. The converted power station is expected to consume approximately 900,000 tonnes of fuel pellets annually. To put that into perspective, we estimate that the waste used to produce those pellets over the 20-year life of the project would fill a volume equivalent to more than 46,000 Olympic sized swimming pools, or cover a landfill site the size of London to a depth of 73 metres.
The fuel pellets are produced to a rigorous specification which means they can be handled and combusted in a manner that is not dissimilar to coal. Consequently, it is expected to be feasible to convert the power station and make use of the existing boilers, turbines and some of the handling systems
The pellets have been developed by N+P Group specifically developed for use at Uskmouth. The waste derived fuel pellet will be transported in pellet form from fuel processing plants in England via the existing railway infrastructure into the Power Station thus replicating established operational delivery methods for coal to the Uskmouth power plant, which has occurred since operation in the late 1950’s .
Reusing and converting existing power station infrastructure
Uskmouth power station has existing operational Environmental Permit and associated consents to enble opertaion on coal. As part of the conversion process Atlantis are engaged with the regulators to:
- Vary the Environmental Permit to allow combustion of the fuel pellets
- Acquire planning permission for the infrastructure to transport, store and convey the fuel pellets at the Uskmouth site.
The programme of works includes upgrades to the existing equipment to a design to ensure continued operation for another 20 years, using best available techniques for limiting emissions.
Supporting the local economy
The Uskmouth Power Station has provided employment and economic benefit to the local region since the late 1950’s.
We expect that jobs will be preserved and created by the conversion and operation of the power station, and additional employment opportunities may be created by adjacent industry expansion which may benefit by the proximity of affordable and sustainable energy from the converted station.
Once converted it will be the world’s first conversion of a coal fired power station to use waste derived fuel, and we believe it can act as a blueprint for managing excess waste and improving the environmental performance of aging coal fired power stations in the UK and Europe.