Hirwaun Power Station
Open Cycle Gas Turbine (OCGT) Construction Project: Hirwaun Power Ltd

Hirwaun Power Station, once operational, could run up to a maximum of 1,500 hours in any given year. It will help support Great Britain’s energy security, providing back-up to other sources of electricity, including weather-dependent wind turbines and solar farms.

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About the project

Hirwaun Power Limited (HPL), a subsidiary business of Drax Group, have commissioned the construction of a gas-fired power station on industrial-zoned land within the Hirwaun Industrial Estate, near Aberdare in South Wales.

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Power households
Maximum hours
Months of Construction/commissioning works in total

Once completed the Hirwaun Power Station will comprise of:

Open Cycle Gas Turbine (OCGT) power peaking plant

Hirwaun Power Station

A new Open Cycle Gas Turbine (OCGT) power peaking plant, known as a Simple Cycle Gas Turbine, designed to provide up to 299 Megawatts (MW) of electricity.

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New underground pipeline to bring natural gas

Hirwaun Power Station

The installation of a new underground pipeline to bring natural gas to the power plant from the existing National Gas Transmission System located on the east side of the A4061.

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New underground electrical connection

Hirwaun Power Station

The installation of a new underground electrical connection to export electricity from the power plant to the existing Rhigos electricity substation located nearby.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Hirwaun Industrial Estate has three key advantages compared to alternative sites in the region:

  • Close proximity to the national gas and electricity distribution networks
  • Located in National Grid’s strategic area for new electricity generation – which is due to the growth in electricity demand in the region
  • It is in an industrial setting, thereby limiting potential impacts on the natural environment and nearby communities

Members of the public, local stakeholders and statutory bodies were consulted about the gas pipeline and electricity connection as part of the overall programme of consultation for the project.

The electrical connection will be routed, via an underground cable. Having examined the impact of routing the cable along Main and Fourteenth Avenue, Hirwaun Power has elected to take the electrical cable underneath land to the north of the site directly to the National Grid Rhigos Substation.

The gas connection will be via an underground pipeline to the south of Hirwaun Industrial Estate and will connect to the National Gas Transmission System on the east side of the A4061. A new Above Ground Installation will be created to connect to the Transmission System.

Hirwaun Power owns the land for the main site on the industrial estate.

We are conscious of the semi-rural environment of the area and every effort will be made to minimise the power plant’s environmental impact, both during its construction and operation. Its footprint and the steps to mitigate its impacts, such as screening and landscaping, formed a major part of the consultation and planning process.

The power station site covers an area of approximately 7.5ha and is located within the Hirwaun Industrial Estate; however, the footprint of the power generation equipment will be much smaller than the full site. 

There will be one stack (chimney) at the power station, up to 35 metres in height. The noise produced during the power station’s operation will be strictly limited by both the Development Consent Order issued by the Secretary of State and limits set by Natural Resources Wales as part of an operational Environmental Permit.

There will be HGV traffic during the construction phase but it will be routed to minimise congestion, noise and dirt away from Rhigos, Hirwaun and other places. Once operational, there will be a negligible increase in traffic movements, principally occasional site visits by maintenance personnel. A Construction Traffic Management Plan has been developed and agreed with the relevant Authorities for the construction phase of the project.

The combustion of natural gas in a power station does not produce any noticeable odour.

A plume consisting mainly of water vapour may be visible from the stack of the power station but only under certain atmospheric conditions (cold and dry with high pressure); this is not ‘smoke’. The emissions from the stack will be strictly limited by Natural Resources Wales as part of an operational environmental permit, meaning that they will not be harmful to people or the environment.

Gas-fired power generation is affordable, reliable and flexible. New gas power projects are acknowledged by the Government as being essential to a lower-carbon economy, as an alternative to coal, and the construction and operation of a rapid-response OCGT plant is part of a strategy to support an electricity system that has an increasing amount of less flexible, low carbon and renewable energy technologies. Many ageing coal, gas and nuclear power stations are closing down, and new thermal power generation capacity is needed to help the country retain its energy security.

Gas peaking plants such as Hirwaun Power are designed specifically to provide essential back-up power generation to intermittent renewable technologies such as wind turbines and solar farms.

New gas generation is part of a transition from more polluting fossil fuels of the past such as diesel, oil and coal and to a low carbon economy driven by renewables, storage, demand side response and other low carbon technologies.

We plan to use Hirwaun Power to plug the gaps that intermittency creates – essentially flicking the switch on and off at very short notice –in just 20 minutes. It will run up to a maximum of 1,500 hours year. This would only be at times when the electricity system is under stress.

Through supporting more intermittent renewables, Hirwaun Power Station will also help to enable taking more coal-fired power stations off the system.

Gas-fired power stations in this country have an excellent safety record, and we do not consider there to be any issues of concern with our site and the neighbouring energy facilities.

The Project can bring a range of benefits to the area during both the construction and operational phases.  It will create supply chain opportunities including more than 150 jobs during a construction/commissioning period of 24 months. In addition, the facility will contribute to business rates and be an active participant in the local community.  A detailed socio-economic impact study was prepared as part of the Environmental Statement.

Construction Progress

Learn about the constuction progress of Hirwaun Power Station 

Contact Hirwaun Power Ltd

If you have an enquiry regarding construction of the power station, please get in touch with the project team using the details below:

Our Locations

361-373 City Rd, London EC1V 1LR, UK

Give Us A Call

01685 706150