Plans have been revealed by SSE Thermal and Equinor for two “first-of-a-kind,” low-carbon power stations near Scunthorpe.
The projects, which have the potential to create thousands of jobs, would include one of the UK’s first power stations with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, and the world’s first major 100% hydrogen-fuelled power station.
The plans, underpinned by a new cooperation 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.
The two decarbonised power stations forming 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 support intermittent renewable generation and 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, generating around 900MW of electricity with 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 Keadby 3 and Keadby Hydrogen projects are both in the development stage and the companies will continue to engage government, regulators and stakeholders. Final investment decisions will depend on the progress of policy frameworks that are commensurate with the delivery of this critical net zero enabling infrastructure.
The projects would utilise 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.
Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director of SSE Thermal, said: “We’re delighted to be announcing this agreement with Equinor through which we aim to develop these first-of-a-kind low-carbon power stations.
“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.
“With over 12 million tonnes of annual carbon emissions, ideal transport and storage options, and major energy and industrial companies working together, the Humber has to be at the centre of the UK’s decarbonisation strategy.”
Grete Tveit, Senior Vice President for Low Carbon Solutions at Equinor, said: “We are very happy that Equinor and SSE are building on our long-term energy partnership to also develop low-carbon projects together in the UK.
“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. We are committed to working together with stakeholders to accelerate these real-life projects and make these investments happen.”