A peaking plant is a gas or diesel fired backup power station that operates when there are high levels of demand for electricity (peak demand) or shortfalls of electricity supply. Due to the increasing reliance on renewable technologies in the UK (such as wind) it is import that the National Grid secures a supply of backup power when these technologies cannot produce the required output (e.g. when the wind doesn't blow). The UK needs to build peaking plants of this nature in order to avoid potential blackouts over the next decade or so.
Richborough Energy Park is well suited for a peaking plant due to its previous power generation use and the fact that there is a large wind farm close by. Peaking plants go hand in hand with wind farms as they are able to top up any shortfall in electricity supply when the wind does not blow. We have submitted an application to build a diesel powered peaking plant capable of generating up to 40MW which we believe will run for up to a maximum of 30 days per year.
Unfortunately it is not possible to run the plant on gas as there is no high pressure gas link to the area and the cost of bringing in a new pipeline is not viable.
With the benefit of modern catalytic conversion technology the emissions from the plant would be the same composition as those from a modern diesel car engine.