WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff helps to secure planning for Watt Power’s power stations in Suffolk and Wales

Two new gas-fired power stations: the first in Hirwaun near Aberdare in South Wales and the second near Eye in Suffolk, have been approved for planning by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The two Watt Power projects (worth a combined £400 million) have been supported by a number of specialists from across WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff’s UK environmental team as well as other engineering consultants and transport planners.

The two projects will create up to 300 construction jobs and up to 30 skilled, permanent jobs once the plants are operational. In total, each power plant will generate enough electricity (299MW) to power 400,000 homes. Watt Power, an independent power company, is targeting for the plants to be operational by 2019.

The gas-fired power stations have been designed to operate as “peaking” plants, which means they can react quickly and efficiently to short-term variations in energy demand as well as intermittent output from renewable energy sources. The Government’s long-term objective is to build modern and efficient gas-fired power stations across the UK whilst replacing ageing coal and nuclear power stations.

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff produced the preliminary designs for the plants and their environmental impact assessments (EIA). A number of expert witnesses in air quality, landscape, ecology and heritage participated in the Public Examinations last year. In response, the Examining Authority’s reports concurred with the findings of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for both projects and Development Consent Orders (DCO) were granted on 23rd July.

Mark Hurley, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff’s UK head of environmental, said:

“This was a great team effort from a broad range of experts in the WSP | Parson Brinckerhoff environmental business. It’s crucial to get such important and low carbon promoting infrastructure projects through planning and our excellent planning and environmental processes have made this possible.”

George Grant, a director of Watt Power said:

“This is great news for the Watt Power team and the UK Government. Our projects are designed to meet the UK Government’s energy policy objectives of security of supply and affordability and support the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy. We have much appreciated the advice and support of the team at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff.”