The proposed Project would produce up to 299 megawatts (MW) of electricity, and represent a significant multi million pound investment into the local economy. It could support up to 150 jobs during the 2-3 year construction and commissioning period, and up to 15 full-time jobs when operational.
The modern gas-fired plant would have low emissions and would help strengthen and secure the UK’s energy supply by providing back up to intermittent energy that is generated from renewable sources – primarily wind and solar. It would be designed to operate flexibly (i.e. not always running) and permitted to produce electricity for no more than 1,500 hours per year.
As the plant will produce more than 50MW of electricity, it is classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. This means that a Development Consent Order is required to build, operate and maintain it. An application for a Development Consent Order will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate with a final decision taken by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
The proposal was first presented to the local community during non-statutory public exhibitions in June this year, and statutory consultation will show how the project has developed since then.
APL has taken into account initial community feedback, alongside ongoing engagement with City & County of Swansea (CCS) and authorities such as Natural Resources Wales, and the company’s own technical and environmental studies. The consultation period will now give members of the local community the opportunity to learn more about, comment on, and potentially influence the proposals before an application for a Development Consent Order is submitted.
APL has produced a Statement of Community Consultation, detailing the consultation programme. It includes a number of exhibition events, which will be an opportunity for local people and interested organisations to see the plans and give their views on the proposals. CCS has been consulted on the consultation programme.
The exhibitions will be held on:
• Wednesday 22nd October 2014, 15:00-20:00 – Llangyfelach Church Hall, Swansea Road, Llangyfelach, Swansea SA5 7JA
• Thursday 23rd October 2014, 14:00-19:00 – Felindre Welfare Hall, Felindre, Swansea, SA5 7NA
• Friday 24th October 2014, 14:00-19:00 – Forge Fach Resource Centre, Hebron Road, Clydach, Swansea, SA6 5EJ
• Saturday 25th October 2014, 09:00-13:00 – Tircoed Village Hall, Y Cyswllt, Tircoed SA4 9QZ
Members of the APL project team will be on hand at these events to explain the proposed Project, how to get involved in the consultation process, and to answer any questions the community may have. Preliminary assessments of the likely significant environmental effects of the project will also be available for viewing.
APL’s Project director Norman Campbell said:
“Consultation with local communities and organisations is vitally important to us. It provides us with an opportunity to explain our project in detail and get feedback to help with the development of our proposals. Our initial phase of consultation in June gave us the chance to communicate directly with local people, gather their views and address their concerns.
“We will now explain how the project has moved forward in recent months and provide more detailed information. One of the key changes we have made is to reduce the height of the stacks of the plant. Following community feedback and our technical and environmental work, we can confirm that they will be no taller than 40 metres. This decision is just one of the steps we have taken to minimise the environmental and visual impact of the Project.
“We are also looking for people’s views on the environmental work we have carried out to date, the proposed route options for accessing the Project, and our proposed layout of the plant within the Project site.
“We hope that as many people as possible will attend our public exhibition days, or see the information we have made available on the project website and deposited at local libraries. We will advertise the formal consultation in local media and are also distributing more than 13,000 leaflets to homes and businesses in the area in the vicinity of the site.”
At the end of the consultation period APL will finalise its proposals before submitting an application for a Development Consent Order. Subject to the consultation and planning process and financing, the power plant could enter commercial operation in 2019/2020.
For further information on the project visit: https://www.drax.com/uk/about-us/our-projects/abergelli-power/.