Progress Power Update
Progress Power, now owned by the Drax Group, held a briefing session for councils, landowners and other affected parties on 3 July 2017. Notes from that meeting have now been published and read as follows:
Summary of meeting
The Drax project team gave a short presentation to introduce itself to attendees and update them on the status of the Progress Power Station. Attendees were welcome to ask questions both during and after the presentation. The key discussion points that emerged from the meeting were as follows:
- About Drax. Drax is a longstanding, publically listed British energy company. It specialises in three core areas: generating electricity from power stations; supplying gas and electricity to businesses; and manufacturing sustainably sourced wood pellets for use in power stations. The business employs over 2,000 people in the UK across several different locations including Ipswich, the home of Drax’s retail business Haven Power. Further information about Drax can be found on www.drax.com.
- Preliminary site works: Oxford Archaeology, a specialist consultancy working for Drax, has now completed its initial survey work to assess archaeological significance on both the power station and sub-station sites. This work involved creating trenches up to 68cm deep (60 top soil and 8 cm subsoil) across the equivalent of 3% of the total development site. A report will be produced by Oxford Archaeology detailing this work and their findings and shared with Suffolk County Council.
- Substation: A number of attendees queried the final design of the substation and the associated visual impact. Drax explained that discussions are continuing with National Grid over the substation design and a final design is likely to be arrived at by the end of the year. Drax understands the community’s concerns and has been working hard with National Grid to reduce the substation size – it is anticipated the final design for the substation building will be approximately 30% smaller than that exhibited during the Development Consent Order consultation. Drax will host a session exploring the design of the substation with local stakeholders later in 2017, at which new visuals will be provided for consideration.
- Community benefit: Drax fully supports the commitment by the previous developer to provide a £300,000 community benefit fund to support local projects. Drax wants to ensure that the local community ultimately has the final say over how the fund is administered and which projects to support. Drax is in on-going discussions with Suffolk County Council and Mid Suffolk District Council over the governance and terms of reference of the fund.
- Construction activity: Construction will not take place on site until the project secures a Capacity Market contract (2018 at the earliest). Once work begins, the construction programme is expected to take approximately 30 months from beginning to end. Drax is preparing a detailed Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) that will outline the steps it will take to manage the impacts associated with construction. Drax is also committed to establishing a Liaison Group with local stakeholders during construction, which will meet on a regular basis to discuss operational issues and upcoming milestones on the construction programme.
- Planning and consenting: There are a series of planning obligations Drax is required to discharge as part of the Development Consent Order granted to the project. It is Drax’s intention to work through these obligations in the coming months. The obligations will be discharged by submitting a planning application to Mid Suffolk District Council, which is the delegated authority.
- Capacity Market: Securing a Capacity Market contract remains important to the commercial viability of the project. The Capacity Market is a competitive auction run by National Grid every year where long-term contracts are provided to power stations that can guarantee to generate electricity over future winter periods (the period when the country’s electricity demand is at its peak). The power stations that can do this at the lowest cost are the ones who successfully receive a contract. It is Drax’s intention to enter the Progress Power project into the next Capacity Market auction, due to take place in Q1 2018. If successful, the project would receive a 15-year contract and be expected to generate electricity in 2022.
- View the presentation: http://www.progresspower.co.uk/key-documents/