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Reduced carbon emissions
With full-scale carbon capture and storage technology, up to 90% of the CO2 emissions from the plant could be prevented from entering the atmosphere. Recent government policy announcements mean that the power station would be fitted with CSS from the start for at least 400 MW (gross) of the plant. Full-scale CCS will be required within five years of the technology being independently judged as technically and commercially proven.
Since 2000, coal has made up for the reduced availability of nuclear power stations and has acted as a substitute for high-priced gas. In 2006 it recorded its highest usage level in the UK for 10 years: coal-fired power stations supplied 37% of the UK’s electricity in 2006 and 34% in 2007. This high level of use is expected to continue until alternatives such as nuclear and renewables provide reliable alternatives at sufficient scale. Operating on coal alone without using CCS technology, a new state-of-the-art power station could deliver a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions compared with the UK’s ageing coal-fired power stations.
The inclusion of 14% biomass would also make a significant contribution to renewable energy targets. By using 14% biomass, a significant contribution to renewable energy targets could be achieved. With the greater efficiency of co-firing the biomass in a supercritical boiler, this proportion of biomass would provide at least the equivalent of a 300 MW standalone biomass power station or approximately 800 MW of onshore wind power.