The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate change has given the green light for a £200 million gas-fired power station at Eye Airfield.
Developer Progress Power says up to 150 jobs would be created for the construction period, as well as 15 permanent skilled jobs, should the plans be given the go-ahead. The equivalent of 400,000 homes could be powered by the electricity the station could generate.
To be fuelled by natural gas, it will operate as a ‘peaking plant’, providing back-up to intermittent renewable electricity generation, making it the first of its kind to be permitted in England.
Chris McKerrow, Project Director at Progress Power said: “We are delighted to have secured the Government’s approval for the project. The project helps to meet the Government’s energy policy objectives of security of supply and affordability and will support the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
“The local community will benefit from the project via the significant commercial investment that will be forthcoming, the skilled jobs being created, our Community Benefit Fund as well as the Section 106 agreement with the local councils. We are confident that our project will be a catalyst for realising Mid Suffolk District Council’s long-term vision for Eye Airfield.
“We intend to work closely with Mid Suffolk District Council and Suffolk County Council to ensure that our project is developed sensitively, respecting the views of local people and carefully managing the project’s impact on the local environment.”
Construction is due to start in 2017, with the aim of having the station operational in 2019.
Underground cables will connect the facility to the national grid, and a new electricity sub-station that will be built near the A140 between the villages of Yaxley and Mellis, which the developers say will be ‘in-keeping’ with the local surroundings.
A spokesperson for Progress Power added the company was in talks with Suffolk County Council and Mid Suffolk District Council to create a £300,000 Community Benefit Fund, as well as enter into a Section 106 agreement.
Due to the size of the project, the final decision was taken by Conservative MP Amber Rudd. The Planning Inspectorate had offered a recommendation to approve the plans.
More to follow