Q1. Why do you want to build at Abergelli Farm?
A1. After various studies across the country over the past four years, we consider Abergelli to be an ideal site location. It has two key advantages:
– Close proximity to the national gas and electricity transmission networks
– Location in National Grid’s strategic area for new electricity generation
Q2. What steps will you take to preserve the local environment?
A2. Every effort will be made to minimise the project’s impact on the local environment, both during its construction and operation phases. Its design and the steps to mitigate its impacts, such as screening and landscaping, will form a major part of the consultation and planning process.
Q3. Where will the gas pipeline and electricity connections be routed?
A3. The site is located closed to the National Grid gas and electricity transmission networks. Based on a preliminary assessment of the available connection route options, the following elements have been proposed for the project:
• A gas connection route corridor to the north of the power generation plant site, with an indicative gas connection route inside this corridor; and
• An electrical connection route corridor to the southwest of the power generation plant site, with an indicative electrical connection route inside this corridor.
Both connection routes will be determined by ongoing design studies, environmental impact studies and the outcomes of consultation with statutory bodies and the local community prior to any application for development consent being submitted.
Q4. What is the footprint of the power station? Will it be noisy? What height will the stack(s) be?
A4. The site for the power generation plant covers an area of approximately 6ha. The power generation plant will have up to 5 stacks, each up to 40m in height. The noise produced during operation of the power plant will be strictly limited by the requirements of the Development Consent Order (similar to planning conditions) which will be enforced by the local authority and limits set by the Natural Resources Wales (NRW). These limits will comply with latest guidance and standards (e.g. BS4142).
Detailed noise modelling will be undertaken to ascertain the current background noise levels. Then typical noise levels from a gas-fired plant will be modelled to determine the likely impacts. Mitigation measures will be developed to limit these impacts to an acceptable level.
Emissions will also be strictly monitored under NRW guidelines.
Q8. Will there be an increase in traffic?
A8. The construction period is expected to have the largest impact in terms of traffic generation, with slight or moderate increases in car, van and heavy goods vehicle (HGV) traffic levels as well as slight disruption to the road network due to abnormal load deliveries and removals (such as large plant and equipment) at off-peak times.
During the construction period of approximately two years, the peak of HGV deliveries is expected to occur during the first three months of the period and the peak of car and van trips occurring during months 13 to 15. The car or van trips would be limited to the start and end of the working day whilst HGV trips would be spread across the day (i.e. primarily during off-peak times). The mitigation to minimise any associated effects will include, among another aspects, a Construction Traffic Management Plan and a Travel Plan.
During the operational period, it is anticipated that approximately three people would be present on site during each shift. With three shifts per day, this would equate to 18 two-way car trips.
Q9. Is it going to smell?
A9. The combustion of natural gas in a power station does not produce any noticeable odour.
Q10. Will there be any emissions from the power station?
A10.. There will be no visible plume from the stacks. The emissions from the stack will be strictly limited by NRW as part of an operational environmental permit, and will not cause harm to people or the environment.
Q11. Who is Abergelli Power Ltd and have they built a gas-fired power station elsewhere?
A11. Abergelli Power Ltd is the name of the project company. It is owned by Watt Power Ltd whose team has developed power generation projects and other energy assets in the UK and overseas. Watt Power is currently taking forward similar generation projects in the UK: one near Eye in Suffolk, the other near Hirwaun in south Wales. Both of these projects have been accepted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate. Abergelli Power Ltd, and the project, are not connected to the three solar park proposals recently granted planning permission in the local area.
Q1. Why do we need new gas-fired power stations?
A1. Gas is affordable, reliable and flexible. It is acknowledged by the Government as being essential to a low-carbon economy and to retain the country’s energy security, as many coal and oil-fired power stations in the UK are set to close down over the next few years, as well as number of ageing nuclear power stations. Whilst new nuclear stations such as Hinkley and Sizewell C have been proposed, they are unlikely to enter service until after 2025.
In addition, gas provides essential back-up to power generation from renewable resources, primarily wind power, which is an increasingly prevalent but intermittent source of energy.
New gas generation plants, like the one proposed for Abergelli, will underpin energy security and help ensure there is no shortfall in the country’s generating capacity. In short, gas is the transitional fuel in the Government’s drive to a low carbon economy.
Q2. How often will the power station operate?
A2. Our proposed scheme is designed to operate as a “flexible” plant, being called into operation when National Grid requires additional generation capacity to meet customer demand, often on a temporary, short-term basis. The plant will rarely operate for long periods of time and will operate for no more than 1,500 hours per year.
Q3. What are the main obstacles for Abergelli Power to build the station?
A3. The main challenges will be obtaining regulatory consent (such as the development consent order (DCO) needed under the Planning Act 2008) and finance, especially given the regulatory uncertainty around the UK’s energy market.
We are confident that through a thorough consultation process, which gives the local community the chance to inform the design of the project, and the mitigation measures that will be applied once the environmental impact assessment process has been completed, that the project should be consented. In addition, we believe that the regulatory and commercial environments will enable our project to be financed.
Q4. What about safety of the power project?
A4. Gas fired power stations in this country have an excellent safety record, and we do not consider there to be any issues of concern with our site and the neighbouring energy facilities.
Q1. Who is the planning authority?
A1. As the project will generate more than 50 MW of energy, and its importance to the country’s energy security, a Development Consent Order (DCO) application under the Planning Act 2008 will be submitted to the National Infrastructure team of the Planning Inspectorate. The Planning Inspectorate will have a clear timescale to adhere to in considering the DCO application and making recommendations to the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change – who has responsibility for making the final decision on the application. However, the local authority is a key consultee in the planning and consultation process, along with the community councils in the vicinity and other local organisations.
Q2. Will local people be consulted?
A2. Yes. Public consultation is an integral part of the planning process. Local people will be consulted in two phases before any DCO application is made and their views will help shape the final form of our application. A phase of non-statutory consultation took place in June 2014 and involved sharing outline information about the project with local residents.
A phase of statutory consultation is taking place between 13 October 2014 and 16 November 2014. This will give the local community opportunity to learn more about, comment on, and potentially influence the proposals before an application for a DCO is submitted.
As part of this consultation, exhibitions are being held in the local area between 22 October 2014 and 25 October 2014. Members of the APL project team will be on hand at these exhibitions 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.
We can also be contacted – and feedback on the Project returned, by Freepost letter, e-mail or by telephone.
Q3. What about the environmental impact of the power station?
A3. An Environment Impact Assessment will be undertaken to assess the likely significant environmental effects of the Abergelli Power project. This process will consider a range of issues including noise, air emissions, ecology, visual impact, heritage/archaeology and transport. The EIA will form a central part of the Development Consent Order (DCO) application and must comply with national and local policies and guidelines. A preliminary environmental information report (PEIR) will be consulted on prior to the DCO application being submitted. A full Environmental Statement will accompany the application for development consent.
Q4. When do you expect to submit a Development Consent Order application?
A4. The project is in a position to submit an application for a Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate and APL will continue to monitor market conditions to determine the appropriate time for submission.
Q5. When could you expect to start construction? And operation?
A5. This will depend on the planning process and financing. Ideally, we would wish to start construction in 2018 and for the plant to start operating in 2019/2020.
Q1. How will the power station benefit the local area?
A1. The power station can bring a range of benefits to the area during both the construction and operational phases. Construction will take around two years and will provide job opportunities for approximately 150 skilled and semi-skilled workers. The plant is expected to have an operational life of 25 years during which time up to 15 full time positions will be required at the plant with around 50 jobs supported in the local community in facility maintenance and other lines of work. In addition, the facility will make a major contribution to local business rates and will be an active participant in the local community. A detailed socio-economic impact study will be submitted as part of the planning application (via the Environmental Statement).
Q2. How will the scheme benefit the area?
A2. The significance of long-term investment, the benefits of the construction phase (for example, opportunities for local sub-contractors) and the creation of skilled permanent jobs should not be underestimated. New power projects in the UK have been shown to have a beneficial “ripple” effect for local economies. We hope that our scheme will complement and encourage investment in the Felindre Business Park which lies 1 km to the south-west. As an investor and employer we would expect to play an active part in the region. We will liaise with City and County of Swansea Council on ways to bring wider social and environmental benefits to the surrounding area.