Powering the region for 20 years
Didcot B Power Station celebrates 20 years of generation
This month marks 20 years of operations at Didcot B power plant, an efficient, gas-fired power station, which has been in commercial operational since 1997. The station is powered by natural gas and uses Combined Cycle Gas Turbines (CCGTs) to produce electricity.
Didcot B can produce 1.500MW per hour – enough power to meet the needs of two million households – and covers a total area of approximately 115 hectares.
The 60 strong team onsite came together to mark the occasion with a cake. A number of the team who were at the original opening still work at the site and have many stories to tell of how operations have changed. Originally it operated next door to its sister coal plant Didcot A, which closed after 42 years of operations in 2013.
Didcot B Power Station is in a unique location in the grid system and plays an essential role in supporting the UK’s energy transition as it can flexibly power up and down, provides excellent availability and is key to ensuring security of supply across the UK.
In order to keep the station at the top of its game, RWE invests millions of pounds in outages each year including £60 million in 2009 to replace two gas turbines, significantly reducing the station’s CO2 emissions to ensure it would meet the tougher environmental legislation.
The station operates at an efficiency of around 55% and has generated 140TWhrs of power to the grid whilst operational.
Commenting on operations at the site, Station Manager, Neil Scott said, “I have worked on this site for nearly 20 years, working across Didcot A and Didcot B Power Stations. I am proud of the team at Didcot B, it’s down to them that we remain competitive, efficient and ready to respond to the ever changing market demands. We have had some financially challenging years and have had to work hard to change our operations. We are a member of the local community and would like to thank them for their support.”
Didcot B will continue to have a valuable role to play in security of supply well into the 2020s. The site remains an attractive location for future generation with excellent transportation links, gas and electrical connections and availably of cooling water.
Notes to editors
The plant was originally designed and operated as a ‘base load’ plant – operating 24/7, however in recent years has changed operations to fit in with the market and more renewable technologies on the grid system.
The station can now get up to full load from being off line for a number of days well within the Capacity Market requirements – which has been a real achievement for the team. During the summer outage the station has also improved processes and flexibility, saving gas on every single start.