The 1.3GW West Burton plant is EDF Energy’s largest single capital investment project in the UK so far. It began full commercial generation in July 2013, despite the best efforts of protest group No Dash for Gas, which occupied the plant for a week in autumn 2012.
Teesside adds 62MW of capacity to EDF’s 462MW wind fleet. The French-backed energy company has another 1.5GW of wind power projects in development.
Energy minister Michael Fallon, attended the launch. He told Utility Week: “There has been no wavering in our commitment to gas, so it is a pleasure to add so much capacity to our gas fleet.”
He declined to comment on energy secretary Ed Davey’s recent remark suggesting contracts to support further gas plants would be deferred for another year. As for reports the Conservatives want to cap onshore wind development, Fallon said he was “not aware of any firm plan”.
EDF Energy has invested £3.5 billion in the UK in the past three years, including extending the life of existing nuclear plants, developing a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point and building two gas storage facilities in Cheshire.
Group chairman Henri Proglio said: “Teesside and West Burton are examples of the scale and diversity of our commitment to Britain, our second largest market after France. Meanwhile the European Commission is continuing its process to examine plans for the first new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. These projects, alongside our other plans, demonstrate our long term commitment to investing in new, low carbon electricity generation in the UK, and contributing to a diverse energy mix.”
More than 500 people are employed at the new gas plant, adjoining West Burton A coal plant and nearby Cottam coal power station.
Vincent de Rivaz, CEO of EDF Energy, said the new energy sources “helped build the UK’s industrial strength”.