In the UK, SIMEC Atlantis Energy Ltd (Atlantis), a diversiﬁed sustainable energy generation company, has announced the commencement of the 28-day Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) for the Uskmouth Conversion Project, a planning milestone for the project. The PAC will run from June 1– 29, 2020.
The Uskmouth Conversion Project proposes to convert the existing coal-fired Uskmouth Power Station located in Uskmouth, Newport, Wales to operate as a power plant generating electricity through the combustion of waste-derived fuel pellets over an extended 20-year operational design life.
As such it the project is considered a major development under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and constitutes an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) development.
Atlantis has been developing the Uskmouth Conversion Project since June 2018 when the company acquired the project from SIMEC UK Energy Holdings Ltd. Since then the design of the project has evolved and been optimised in close consultation with the regulators and local stakeholders.
Proposed works and upgrade
The construction phase of the Uskmouth Conversion Project will require new external infrastructure required to transport, store, and convey the fuel pellets for which planning permission is sought. In addition, works are required for fuel combustion equipment conversion and plant life extension to be conducted inside the existing power station buildings.
The design evolution has sought to address potential environmental impacts and some key changes that have been incorporated into the project design.
- Atlantis and project partners SIMEC Subcoal Fuels (SSF) will not progress the fuel pellet production plant previously considered for construction on land adjacent to the Uskmouth Power Station, removing the requirement to import raw waste feedstock into Newport significantly reducing road traffic and transport impacts. Fuel pellet production plants are under development at alternative locations in England.
- It is proposed that fuel pellets will be transported to the Uskmouth Conversion Project via rail from these plants. Fuel pellet delivery by rail replicates previous operational activity at the coal-fired Uskmouth Power Station, contributing to a significant reduction in road transport.
Once the Proposed Development works and Power Station Upgrade are completed the Uskmouth Conversion Project will be able to commence operation through the combustion of fuel pellets to generate electricity.
Following the completion of the PAC, the PAC report will be submitted alongside the full planning application to the local authority, Newport City Council (NCC) for determination.
The statutory timescale for EIA planning application determination is 16 weeks and therefore the company expects that NCC would have concluded the determination of the planning application by Q4 2020.
In line with the Welsh Government’s recent amendment to planning legislation regarding PAC requirements during COVID-19 restrictions which came into effect on May 19, 2020, the Uskmouth Conversion Project PAC will be hosted online on the Simec Atlantis Energy website.