The commissioning of the power station is proceeding well. In February we were fully connected to the National Grid and we commenced commissioning of the boilers. In March, the gas turbines were “fired up” for the first time, and in April they successfully generated electricity into the National Grid for a short period of time.
Given the scale and complexity of the power station, a comprehensive series of checks and test runs will continue to be carried out by the project contractor, Siemens, and the Marchwood Power team over the coming weeks and months. This work is necessary to ensure that the station is ready to run commercially later this year..
As we are moving towards the final stages of the construction programme, the number of workers on site and deliveries to the site are steadily reducing. In April, we had about 400 people on site and that number will drop further month on month.
Overall, we are pleased with the progress that is being made and, assuming that there aren’t any unforeseen glitches, we remain on track towards commercial operation.
Contrary to what some people may have thought, the firing of our gas turbines in March was not the cause of the power cut that unfortunately took place in some parts of Marchwood on the very same evening. We hadn’t started up at the time of the power cut and had never planned to generating electricity into the grid that evening. It was an unfortunate co-incidence affecting the local electricity network.
Solar panels for local schools
In the March update, we reported that three local schools had installed solar panels, through the Government’s Solar4Schools scheme and part-funded by Marchwood Power. The schools were Applemore College, Orchard Junior in Dibden Purlieu and Hounsdown School in Totton. Since then, Hythe Primary and Totton College have completed their installations. In April, Hythe’s installation was featured on BBC Radio Solent and pictured in the Daily Echo. And we hope to have solar panels fitted at Orchard Infants very shortly.
Whilst the solar panels will save each school approximately £500 per year on their energy bills and each school receives an “energy resource pack” that will be used in lessons, as part of the national curriculum, we have been told that the response from children at each of the schools has been incredibly positive.
Where the Solar4Schools aren’t appropriate for our local schools, then we are looking at alternative ways to assist. For example at Marchwood Infants we are investigating the installation of special fans to improve the energy efficiency of the school and we have given financial support to Hartley School’s bid to become a Business & Enterprise College.
Local Liaison Group
The group, chaired by Councillor David Harrison, met with us in April and they were able to tour the power station and see for themselves the progress that has been made. Among the issues, raised during the tour and at the meeting that followed, were the landscaping of the station site, National Grid’s transmission lines and the station’s commissioning work. The next meeting of the Liaison Group is scheduled for July.
This Development Update will be published in the June edition of Marchwood Village News.