The UK government has approved RWE npower’s plan to develop up to 2400 MW of gas fired generating capacity in Derbyshire, central England.

The German-owned utility says that the permits issued by the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) cover the construction of up to 2000 MW of combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) capacity and 400 MW of open cycle gas turbine (OCGT capacity) at Willington.

RWE npower has also submitted an application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) to build a new gas pipeline to bring fuel to the site, formerly the location of a coal-fired power plant.

“Gas plants like Willington will continue to be a central part in the country’s energy mix as we make moves towards a low carbon economy,” said Energy Minister Charles Hendry.

“There is also a major opportunity in the long-term for gas power stations like this to be fitted with abatement technology,” continued Hendry. “This station will be built carbon capture ready, which means that eventually CO2 emissions from the plant could be captured and transported for storage offshore.”

Kevin McCullough, RWE npower’s Chief Technical Officer, said: “The government’s consent for a new power station at Willington is an important step towards creating an option for future power generation. Consent for a new OCGT recognises the national need to develop more responsive power generation capacity to support the increase in renewable energy sources.

“Until the IPC has determined our consent application for the associated gas pipeline, we will not be in a position to make a firm decision about the future of the CCGT power station.”

McCullough continued: “We will now consider if the development of a standalone OCGT plant is an appropriate option at this stage and the best way to develop the site.”