Consultation on Draft Supplementary Guidance for Section 36 Applications: New Coal Power Stations

This consultation was launched in the light of the outcome of the previous consultation on a Framework for the Development of Clean Coal. The Framework sets out a CCS policy, effective from November 2009, which requires any new coal-fired power station built in England and Wales to demonstrate full-chain CCS (capture, transport and storage) at commercial scale for at least 300 MW of its electricity generation capacity. This requirement is extended to existing power stations that are upgraded to supercritical technology.

Currently, any new power station above 50 MW must obtain development consent from the Secretary of State under s.36 of the Electricity Act 1989. This aspect is going to be changed in favour of consent from the newly established Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), under the Planning Act 2008. The IPC will become responsible for the applications process following the adoption of the relevant National Policy Statements (see Consultation on National Policy Statements). However, s.36 will still apply.

From the commencement of this new policy, developers applying, or who had applied but not yet received consent, for s.36 development consent have to show that the plant will be able to demonstrate CCS on at least 300 MW of its electricity generating capacity. The consultation document sought comments on guidance for applicants about the permit and the level of detail that will be required by the Environment Agency in order to advise the Secretary of State about the technical feasibility of the project. The guidance also covers aspects of the technical specification for pre-combustion, post-combustion and oxyfuel technologies.

Consultees are asked to comment on whether the document provides adequate clarity and addresses all the issues which might arise from implementing such a policy.

This guidance, or any successor to it adopted by DECC, should be read in conjunction with existing guidance and is going to be considered by the IPC when it considers applications for consent to construct power stations retrofitted with CCS (see details on the National Policy Statements consultation).

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