We are now entering the final furlong in the station’s construction and so we should be generating electricity for around 1 million homes before the end of the summer. In February, we were fully connected to the National Grid and we have now commenced commissioning of the boilers. Working closely with our project contractors, Siemens, the Marchwood Power team are moving into an intensive period of checking and testing which will ensure that the station is ready to go for commercial operation. It will mean that we will be able to generate electricity at a moment’s notice for our customer Scottish & Southern Electricity.
The number of workers on site is reducing dramatically as the main construction and civil engineering work tails off. In December we had more than 1000 people working on the site and in February, the number had fallen to around 650 people. This number will progressively decrease each week as we move towards completion.
In addition, all of the main deliveries, either via Southampton Water courtesy of Marchwood Military Port or via road, have now been made. Once we start normal operations, the station will directly employ about 50 people for a 365 day 24 hour operation, and be supported by various service firms.
Solar panels for local schools
Three local schools have now installed solar panels, through the Government’s Solar4Schools scheme and part-funded by Marchwood Power. We first suggested the idea to schools in December 2007 so it’s taken rather longer to come to fruition than we had all expected but we hope it’s been worth the wait. Applemore College, Orchard Junior in Dibden Purlieu and Hounsdown School in Totton have now installed the panels, with Orchard Infants, Hythe Primary and Totton College following closely behind.
The new solar panels will save each school approximately £500 per year on their energy bills as well as well as produce clean, green, renewable energy. As well as the panels, each school has installed a special display board showing the electricity being generated and received an “energy resource pack” that will be used in lessons, as part of the national curriculum.
Unfortunately, Marchwood Infants has been unable to take advantage of the Solar4Schools scheme but we are working with the school, with the assistance of Southampton’s Environment Centre, to explore alternative ways to help.
Local Liaison Group
The group, chaired by Councillor David Harrison, met with us in January and will meet again in April. Among the issues, raised at our meeting in January, were lighting at the station and on the two stacks, the station commissioning work and our wider involvement within the community. We have been delighted with the response to the Solar4Schools scheme, In addition, some of Marchwood Power’s people are now getting involved in the local area on a personal basis. As a major business in Marchwood, we are keen to support local initiatives when we can and where of course it is appropriate.
We are starting to receive more requests for visits to the site. Whilst we would gladly like to welcome people to Marchwood Power, we think it’s sensible to hold off until the early autumn once we have the main works completed and the station is running smoothly. We are very proud of this modern station, and the contribution it will make to the region, but we would like to hold-off the general public from visiting the station until then; we hope you appreciate our position.
This Development Update has been published in the Spring edition of the Marchwood Village News.