Sembcorp UK has been granted approval to invest £20 million in a Siemens SST400 steam turbine generator at the Wilton power station.

The project – essential, says the company, to the restructuring and performance of its assets as it adapts to new economic circumstances – has won the backing of the parent company, Sembcorp Industries.

Following the completion of preparatory works in the power station, the unit will be delivered to the plant at the end of 2010. It will be installed by Siemens plc and is expected to be fully operational by mid 2011.

The new steam turbine generator is intended to enhance the performance and efficiency of the plant and will help to compnsate Sembcorp for the unforeseen loss of a number of high steam demand chemical industry customers at the Wilton International site. It should enable Sembcorp to generate an additional 52 MWe using steam from the station’s two main coal boilers.

Preparatory work aimed at making room for the turbine at Wilton includes the removal of redundant equipment and civil foundation work plus the installation of new pipework and cabling.

CEO Paul Gavens said “With reduced on-site steam demand anticipated in the next few years it is essential that we maximise our external electricity sales as well as maintain the capability to divert steam to customers quickly if needed. This new asset allows us to do both.”