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As the need for more energy generation capacity grows more urgent, the industry looks set to benefit from some significant new orders for gas-fired power stations. In recent weeks, significant progress has made on major gas-fired projects at Wrexham and Tilbury and further schemes are likely to follow. After more than five years on the drawing board, development consent has recently been granted for the £300 million Wrexham Energy Centre, a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station on an industrial estate in the Welsh town being developed by Wrexham Power, a joint venture between Glenfinnan and St Mowden. Work is set to start in October 2018 and the scheme is expected to create 515 construction jobs over the next three years. (Glenigan project id 12192279) Meanwhile, RWE Generation is planning to submit plans to develop a new gas-fired power station, on the site of the former Tilbury B Power Station, which is currently being demolished by Brown & Mason. The new Tilbury Energy Centre would have a combined cycle gas turbine power station with capacity of up to 2,500 MW, 100 MW of energy storage facility and 300MW of open cycle gas turbines. (Glenigan Project id 05483324). A 3km gas pipeline that will connect the proposed plant to the national grid. The scope for new work in energy infrastructure remains huge. With electricity demand in the UK, set to remain stable at 1.1 TW, around 25 GW of gas plants are expected to close or will need to be upgraded by 2030, according to RWE. It forecasts that more than £200 billion of investment is needed in UK generation and infrastructure in the next 15-20 years. The need for new investment in new power stations remains acute. In additions to its obligations under the Climate Change Act of 2008 to close unabated coal powered stations, the government’s new commitment to phase out petrol and diesel car engines by 2040 will add to the pressure on capacity. The 12.5% rise in electricity prices announced by British Gas in early August was being blamed on higher distribution and regulatory costs but it has also highlighted the need for more generating capacity Last November, the then energy secretary Amber Rudd said: “In the next 10 years, it’s imperative that we get new gas-fired power stations built.” She said one of the greatest and most cost-effective contributions ways to emission reductions in electricity is by replacing coal fired power stations with gas. The government’s consultation proposed closing coal by 2025 - and restricting its use from 2023. “But let me be clear,” she added, “…we’ll only proceed if we’re confident that the shift to new gas can be achieved within these timescales.” For now, the momentum in the sector is being maintained. Opening the Carrington Power Station near Manchester in March, energy minister Jesse Norman said: “New power stations like this complement low-carbon wind and solar renewable energy by providing reliable electricity all year round, whatever the weather or time of day. And this investment has created skilled jobs for the area as well.” Operated by Carrington Power, a subsidiary of ESB, the site uses natural gas to generate enough electricity for 1 million homes in the area. Meanwhile, the potential workload on energy-related schemes also received a recent boost with government funding worth £24 million for new low carbon heating systems across 13 English local authorities. It is the first round from a £320 million budget to support heat networks.

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