Plans announced for two new low carbon power stations
Equinor and SSE Thermal have today unveiled plans to jointly develop two first-of-a-kind, low-carbon power stations in the Humber region.
These will comprise one of the UK’s first power stations with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, and the world’s first 100% hydrogen-fuelled power station.
The plans, underpinned by a new agreement between the two companies, would support the UK’s transition to net zero and accelerate the decarbonisation of the Humber, the UK’s largest and most carbon-intensive industrial cluster.
And the projects have the potential to create thousands of skilled jobs.
The two decarbonised power stations, which would form a ‘clean power hub’ near Scunthorpe.
Keadby 3 and Keadby Hydrogen would replace older, carbon-intensive generation on the electricity grid, providing flexible and efficient power to maintain security of supply through the net zero transition.
- Keadby 3 would be a 900MW power station fuelled by natural gas and fitted with carbon capture technology to remove the CO2 from its emissions. The captured CO2 would then be transported using shared pipelines before being securely stored under the Southern North Sea. A formal consultation for Keadby 3 concluded in early 2021 and the project is currently progressing towards the submission of a development consent application in Spring 2021. Keadby 3 would have the potential to come online by 2027, in line with Government ambitions for ‘Track 1’ industrial cluster projects.
- Keadby Hydrogen power station would have a peak demand of 1,800MW of hydrogen, producing zero emissions at the point of combustion. It would be the world’s first major 100% hydrogen-fired power station, securing at-scale demand for hydrogen in the region for decades to come. With appropriate policy mechanisms in place, Keadby Hydrogen could come online before the end of the decade.
The projects would use the parallel hydrogen and CO2 pipeline infrastructure being developed by the Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) partnership – which includes Equinor and SSE Thermal – and offshore CO2 infrastructure developed by the six-member Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP), which includes Equinor. Both ZCH and NEP won public funding from the UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund in March.
Equinor’s H2H Saltend project will be the first to connect into the ZCH infrastructure and will come online by the mid-2020s.
Like the additional hydrogen that would be produced for the Keadby Hydrogen project, H2H Saltend will provide low-carbon hydrogen to already-identified customers.
As part of the agreement announced today, SSE Thermal and Equinor are also developing options for hydrogen blending at SSE Thermal’s Keadby 2 project (already under construction), aiming to progressively decarbonise the UK’s newest and most-efficient power station.
Stephen Wheeler, managing director of SSE Thermal, said: “These projects would play a major role in decarbonising the UK’s flexible generation capacity, while supporting a green economic recovery in the Humber.
“By utilising cutting-edge carbon capture and hydrogen solutions, we can decarbonise power generation, heavy industry and hard-to-reach sectors of the economy, which will be essential in both achieving net zero emissions and ensuring a just transition for workers and communities.”
Grete Tveit, senior vice president for low carbon solutions at Equinor, added: “These world-leading power plants at Keadby will accelerate efforts across the Humber to create a decarbonised industrial cluster, and contribute to the UK’s goals for a green industrial revolution and reaching net zero.
“They are a further step in Equinor’s ambitions for the Humber, following on from our H2H Saltend project that will start producing low-carbon hydrogen at scale by the mid-2020s.
“We believe these technologies are vital for heavy industry, flexible power and other hard-to-abate sectors to achieve net zero emissions, while also ensuring a just transition for industrial communities.”