Drax has been granted a development consent order from business and energy secretary Greg Clark for a 299MW open cycle gas turbine plant at Rookery South Pit in Bedfordshire.

The Millbrook power station, named after a nearby village, will take two years to build at a cost of £90 million.

With the ability to go from cold to full load in less than 20 minutes, Drax said the facility will be used to provide flexible backup generation to support the power grid during periods of high demand or low renewable output. It could be up and running by as soon as 2022, subject to it securing a capacity market agreement in future auctions.

Drax Power chief executive Andy Koss said: “Securing this approval from the secretary of state is a crucial step in ensuring development of the new gas generation the UK needs to provide flexible power and system support services to the electricity grid as part of the country’s transition to a low carbon economy.

“Rapid response gas power stations are agile enough to ramp up quickly and support the grid at times of peak demand, making them highly complementary to intermittent renewable sources of power, like wind and solar.

“Flexible, reliable power stations like this are essential to provide the power Britain’s homes, businesses, transport and infrastructure need.”

Drax applied for a development consent order for the plant in 2018.

The government is planning to hold a T-3 capacity auction in 2020 to replace the T-4 auction that was scheduled to take place earlier this year. It was cancelled in November after the capacity market was deemed to be unlawful by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Earlier this month the claimant in the case, Tempus Energy, filed a legal claim with the High Court to enforce the shutdown. The company accused the government of flouting the ECJs ruling by instructing capacity providers to continue complying with their agreements and encouraging energy suppliers to make voluntary capacity payments to the Electricity Settlements Company (ESC).