The two open-cycle gas fired power generation plants are the first of their kind to be permitted in the UK and each project is costed at £200m.
Watt Power subsidiaries Progress Power and Hirwaun Power are now cleared to start construction at Eye in Suffolk and near Aberdare in South Wales, respectively.
Both sites will operate as ‘peaking’ plants, providing electricity when there is a surge in demand, or where there is a sudden drop in power being generated from other power plants. They will be entered into the government’s capacity market auction, scheduled for December 2015
Both projects remain subject to auction success and raising the necessary finance, but construction should start in 2017 if all goes to plan, with commercial operation scheduled for 2019. The 299 MW plant will be built on part of the former World War II Eye Airfield. It will connect into the National Grid via underground cable and a new electricity substation that will be built near the A140 between the villages of Yaxley and Mellis.
Hirwaun Power in Aberdare is also aiming to enter commercial operation at in 2019. Its 299 MW plant is to be built on part of the Hirwaun Industrial Estate, next to the A465 Heads of the Valleys dual carriageway between Swansea and Abergavenny.
Watt Power director George Grant said: “This is great news for the Watt Power team and the UK government. Our projects are designed to meet the UK government’s energy policy objectives of security of supply and affordability and support the country's transition to a low-carbon economy.
“However, despite the widespread acceptance that new generation plant is required and the considerable investment we have made to date, we don’t have any guarantees of success in the capacity market auction given the current market arrangements. We recognise that there is still much to do even though we have the DCOs for two projects: it is an important point that government and market commentators should not overlook.”
Watt Power was established in 2011. In January 2014, China’s Noble Group acquired a majority shareholding.