The Fossil Fuel Electricity Generating Infrastructure draft NPS (EN-2) acknowledges the continuing importance of fossil fuel generating stations in the UK.

EN-2 will be the primary decision-making guidance document for the IPC when considering applications in England and Wales for the following types of new generating stations with over 5OMW of capacity:

  • coal-fired
  • gas-fired
  • integrated coal gasification combined cycle
  • oil-fired

In addition, biomass co-firing can be used in coal-fired stations (see our next Alert on the Renewable Energy Infrastructure NPS (EN-3) for details on biomass-only generating stations).

EN-2 sets out the criteria which m u s t be m e t before development consent for a new fossil fuel generating station can be given. It directs the IPC not to grant consent unless it is satisfied that:

  1. the applicant has shown that opportunities for combined heat and power for fossil fuel stations have been properly explored  
  2. all new combustion stations with a generation capacity of or over 300MW are Carbon Capture Ready  
  3. all new coal-fired generating stations have Carbon Capture and Storage for at least 300MW net of its proposed generating capacity. Where the capacity is less than 300MW, the promoter must be able to show that the proposed station will be able to capture CO2 from its whole capacity

The IPC will also expect to see projects designed to be resilient to the effects of climate change, such as coastal changes, storm surges, higher temperatures and a decreasing availability of cooling water.

RPC comments

In addition to the general theme of carbon reduction which pervades EN-2, the draft policy also sets out the guidelines for considering the impacts of fossil fuel generating stations over and above the considerations set out in EN-1. For example, it provides additional guidance on a project's impact on: air emissions; landscape and visual amenity; noise; release of dust by and residue management for coal-fired stations; and water quality and resources. It is clear going forward that fossil fuel NSIPs will be closely monitored, not only at development consent stage, and that their effects on the surrounding area and the proposed mitigation measures to counter the same will be key in future applications.