Work is now well underway on the Marchwood Power Station, the building work is on schedule and we will start commercial operation in the summer of next year. Once open, the gas-fired power station, which will be one of the most modern and cleanest of its kind in Europe, will generate electricity to supply the needs of an area the size of the New Forest, Southampton and Winchester.
After many months of underground and low-level work on the site, the station which is in the heart of the Marchwood Industrial Park is visibly taking shape, with the outer shell of the main buildings in place, main work on the transmission lines finished and the new gas pipeline, stretching from Lockerley to Marchwood virtually complete. The land, hedgerows, pavements and fences affected by the pipeline work will be reinstated, and roads repaired. The very wet winter regrettably delayed the restoration work but it has now started and the land should return to its former self over the coming months.
At all times during the construction of the power station, we have sought to minimise the disruption to Marchwood from the work, especially from our construction traffic to and from the site, and we have sought to keep noise and dirt levels to the minimum. We apologise that some residents may have been inconvenienced by our work but we hope these have been isolated incidents. We would like to assure Marchwood Village of our continued commitment to the safe and careful management of the plant’s construction.
At all times during construction, we liaise closely with Marchwood Parish Council and New Forest District Council, as well the Power Station Working Group which includes members of both councils. The Working Group, chaired by County Councillor David Harrison, provides us with valuable feedback on our work as well as the opportunity to explore ideas on how we might support Marchwood and the surrounding area now and in the future.
Supporting the area
Job creation, directly at the plant and indirectly through the use of local firms to provide various goods and services, is one important contribution that we are already making to the area. Local firms are involved in the construction programme and we have now recruited people to work for Marchwood Power, the company that will actually operate the plant. 44 people have been employed and working with us now, with only a handful relocating from outside the area.
One person to join the Marchwood Power team is Jane Holman. Jane joined in October last year as Schools Liaison Officer, to help forge links with local schools and colleges, and support specific initiatives that have obvious synergies with our business of electricity generation.
One exciting and innovative initiative now underway is to provide solar photovoltaic panels to schools and colleges at no cost to them. In December, Jane met with local schools to introduce the scheme and seven schools and colleges (Houndsdown School – at which Jane has recently become a Community Governor, Totton College, Applemore College, Marchwood Infants, Orchard Infants, Orchard Junior, Hythe Primary) have since registered their wish to take advantage of the Soalr4Schools scheme.
The solar scheme will provide electricity direct to the schools and save them each on average £500 per year on their electricity bills. In addition the scheme has an educational purpose as a special display board will be put up in each school showing the electricity generated and an “energy resource pack” will be used in lessons, as part of the national curriculum. The scheme costs approximately £22,000 per school and the cost will be met through 50% government funding, the rest by Marchwood Power. Applications for funding are being assessed and technical surveys being undertaken and we hope that a green light will be given to the seven schools before the end of the summer term.
As well as the Solar4Schools scheme, we will be getting involved in career fairs for the schools as well as help them participate in ecological projects.
We are also attracting a steady stream of visitors, interested in seeing the construction work and learn more about the operation of a clean and modern gas-fired power station. Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks has visited the site, as have engineering students from the University of Southampton, and we will be welcoming the local MP Dr Julian Lewis at the end of May. Further visits from interested groups are being scheduled over the next few months. Members of the Power Station Working Group toured the site in April.
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 summer issue of the Marchwood Village News.