Plan for gas generator to fill coal power void is approved
Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter
Gwynedd Council planning officers have backed plans for a gas power generator near the former Book People warehouse at Parc Menai in Bangor.
Submitted by Nod Power Limited, the planning documents state that while the UK Government is trying to fill the void left by coal-powered stations with renewable sources, back-up providers are also needed due to renewables like solar and wind often being dependent upon weather patterns.
This plant, like others already approved in Holyhead, Caernarfon and Porthmadog, would only kick in when demand dictates and feed into the main grid.
According to developers they would also supplied by underground pipe via the national gas main system, meaning that no deliveries would be needed.
They also say that the site in question, near the former Book People warehouse, would have no impact on any future use of the site and would create two full-time permanent jobs as well as another 10 during the construction phase.
Planning officers, who approved the plans without having to be referred to the authority’s planning committee, believed that the plans met all existing policies.
On average, such facilities operate for approximately 3,500 hours per year with peak periods between 4:30pm and 9pm.
The Parc Menai site, on the outskirts of Bangor, employed 229 workers until the company went into administration a week before Christmas 2019, being later wound down.
It is hoped that such developments will mark another step in the UK Government’s bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
With the UK Government planning to completely phase out coal powered plants by 2025, Britain now has just four coal-powered stations following the closure of Aberthaw in the Vale of Glamorgan – the last such facility in Wales.
The supporting documents note: “As there is no demand for the plant to be operated as a base load plant, the gensets will stand idle until a demand requirement.
“On demand the gensets will initiate their start-up and within approximately two minutes reach peak generation export capacity of ~10MW.
“The plant can be turned down and respond to multiple start-up/shut-down cycles, thereby providing the flexibility required to provide the services for balancing the grid network.
“With experience of running these facilities the gensets would typically run for an average of ~3500 hours a year. Typically, at the periods of high electricity demand, most commonly during the evening hours, rarely at night and weekends.
“The most common peak demand periods occur between 16.30 and 21.00. However, the plant will be available for generation on receipt of a signal from National Grid at any time of day or night and any day of the week.”