Plans to help ensure a smooth transition to a low-carbon electricity supply have been given the green light.
Proposals for a reserve energy plant at Liverton 2 Business Park in Exmouth to provide essential back-up electricity at times of high demand and insufficient generation were approved by the Planning Inspectorate in June this year.
Such small scale, flexible, gas-powered plants are being installed throughout the country to enable the electricity grid to cope with the current transition to renewable generation.
The High Court has now supported the Planning Inspectorate’s June ruling, meaning work on the project can now go ahead.
John Wilding, Head of Forestry and Energy at Clinton Devon Estates, owners of the business park, welcomed the decision.
He said: “Britain’s energy revolution is gathering pace, as we see in the Government’s recent announcements on massively expanding offshore wind.
“As this welcome transition to greener energy continues, a key objective is to stop relying on coal power stations which are still being used at times of high energy demand and low wind. They offer flexibility in the system but are being phased out.
“We are pleased not only to be doing our bit to ensure continuity in the local electricity supply but also to be playing a small part in ensuring coal can be switched off, as planned, by 2025.
“As a country we need to make sure there is a reliable and stable supply of electricity for everyone as we transition away from coal, aged nuclear and centralised large-scale gas. Today the majority of our electricity is produced by large gas power stations and switching to intermittent renewables (such as wind and solar) will be a huge challenge that will require rapid response back-up generation for some time to come.
“To ensure energy security – to keep the lights on – we need to make sure we have the ability to fill the inevitable gaps from our renewable fleet and imports into the country via interconnectors.
“These gaps in supply and demand mean that there is a real risk that without a reserve supply of generating capacity, there may not always be enough electricity to meet demand: that’s when the lights will go off.”
Mr Wilding added: “As with all reserve energy gas plants, Liverton will only operate in response to the energy market, to keep electricity flowing to local homes and businesses, and will not run at all between the hours of 11pm and 7am, unless National Grid declares an emergency.”