The power station is now just 12 months from starting commercial operation, so construction work in recent weeks has been busy. The start of commercial operations, when we supply power into the National Grid, might appear to be a long way off but we need to have the station ready to run under test conditions for a good period of time. This period of commissioning is scheduled to start in the second half of November when we start to run the two turbines that will generate our power.
The “firing” of the turbines is an important moment for us and we will notify local residents about the schedule of the work in good time, as there may be some intermittent noise and some harmless but visible emissions for a short period of time.
Using Marchood Port
With the start of commissioning on the near horizon, all but one of the key parts of the station, such as the gas turbines, the boilers and the generators, are now in place. These large and vital pieces of equipment have all been transported to the site from Southampton Port via the MOD port facility at Marchwood, rather than using the local road network. The support and cooperation of MOD Marchwood has been invaluable.
We are very conscious of the local concerns about traffic to and from the Industrial Park. I can report that HGV movements to and from the power station site have reached their peak and are now starting to drop off as we move towards the end of main construction. The number of people working on the site is also now dropping off from a peak of about 900 people in July. Once the station is completed, commercial vehicle movements into and out of Marchwood Power will reduce to as little as 10 a day, and staff levels will be less than 50 people working over two shifts.
In my last report to the Village News, I mentioned the land reinstatement along the route of the gas pipeline from Lockerley, near Romsey to Marchwood. The reinstatement work, in terms of spreading topsoil is well advanced but some parts of the work, such as the seeding and hedgerow reinstatement, will start in September – the traditional planting season. I�m confident that this work will be completed before the start of the winter.
Supporting local schools
In July, we welcomed pupils from Applemore to see the power station and meet members of the Marchwood Power team. I think and hope that they were impressed and pupils were given the chance to win an Ipod for his or her essay recounting the visit. The essay competition will be judged by Councillor David Harrison, chairman of the Power Station Working Group, and the winning entry will be posted on our website and the next issue of Marchwood Village News.
Installing solar photovoltaic panels into local schools, through Marchwood Power�s financial support of the Solar4Schools programme, will be starting once the necessary planning permissions have been granted. And since we launched the programme, some other schools have expressed an interest including Abbotswood Junior and Hazelwood Infants. We have been delighted with the interest shown by local schools and colleges in taking up this offer, giving solar photovoltaic panels at no cost to them with the very real benefit of reducing their annual electricity bills. We are also talking to the Minstead Study Centre about other possible ways in which we could support them in their work.
If you have any questions or comments about our work, please contact us via the link on our website or write to us at Marchwood Power Limited, Oceanic Way, Marchwood Industrial Park, Marchwood SO40 4BD.
This Development Update will be published in the September issue of the Marchwood Village News.