Didcot Power Station

Infobox UK power station

static_image_caption=Didcot A Power Station Cooling towers (three of six), taken from a train on the GWML.
region=South East England
operator=RWE npower
The Didcot Power Stations are twin facilities for the generation of electric power to supply the National Grid. They are situated immediately adjoining one another in the civil parish of Sutton Courtenay, next to the town of Didcot in Oxfordshire (formerly in Berkshire), in the UK.

Didcot A

The power station was designed by architect Frederick Gibberd. A vote was held in Didcot and surrounding villages on whether to build a power station. There was strong opposition from Sutton Courtenay but the yes vote was carried due to the number of jobs that were created in the area. Building was started on the 2,000MWe coal/gas-fired power station (four 500MWe units) for the CEGB during 1964, and was completed in 1968 at a cost of £104m, with up to 2400 workers being employed at peak times. It is located on a 300 acre (1.2 km²) site formerly part of the Ministry of Defence Central Ordnance Depot. The main chimney is 650 ft (198 m) tall with the six cooling towers 325 ft (99 m) each. In 2003 Didcot A burnt 3.7Mt of coal.

The station burns mostly pulverised coal but is also co-fired with natural gas. Didcot was the first large power station to be converted to have this function. In addition, a small amount of biomass such as sawdust is burnt. This was introduced to try and depend more on renewable sources following the introduction of the Kyoto Protocol and, in April 2002, the Renewables Obligation (RO). It is hoped that biomass could replace 2% of coal burnt. In 1996 and 1997, Thales UK was awarded contracts by Innogy (now npower) to implement the APMS supervisory and control system on all of the four units, then allowing to have optimised emissions monitoring and reporting.For more information, see Advanced Plant Management System, the [http://www.apms.org.uk/casestudies/fcs_c01.htm Didcot A Case study on the APMS website] or the article about the [http://www.sea.siemens.com/process/docs/prql-7.pdf implementation of the Moore's Quadlog Safety PLC in Didcot] .]

Some ash from Didcot A is used to manufacture building blocks at a factory on the adjacent Milton Park, but most is mixed with water and pumped via a pipeline to former quarries in Radley.

Environmental protests

On the morning of Thursday 2 November 2006, 30 Greenpeace volunteers invaded the power station. One group chained themselves to machinery and immobilised the coal-carrying conveyor belts. A second group scaled the 200 metre high chimney, and set up a climate camp. They proceeded to paint "Blair's Legacy" on the side of the chimney overlooking the town. Greenpeace claim Didcot Power Station is the second most polluting in Britain after Drax in Yorkshire [cite web|url=http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/climate/climate.cfm?ucidparam=20061102092303&CFID=5851601&CFTOKEN=90973999 |title=Climate campaigners shut down one of UK's biggest power stations|publisher=Greenpeace|accessdate=2006-11-02] , whilst Friends of the Earth describe it as the ninth worst in the UK [cite web|url=http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/press_for_change/carbon_dinosaurs/didcot_coal_power_station.html |title=Carbon Dinosaurs |publisher= Friends of the Earth |archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20041019034731/www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/press_for_change/carbon_dinosaurs/didcot_coal_power_station.html |archivedate=2004-10-19] .

Didcot A has opted out of the Large Combustion Plants Directive which means it will only be allowed to run for up to 20,000 hours after 1 January 2008 and must close by 31 December 2015. However, due to the amount of running hours the station is currently using, it will more than likely close before then. [cite web
title=The Role of Coal in Electricity Generation
publisher=Association of Electricity Producers

Didcot B


[http://www.powergeneration.siemens.com/press/press-pictures/combined-cycle-power-plants/didcot-1.htm Didcot B] is the newer sibling initially owned by National Power, constructed from 1994-7 by Siemens and [http://www.atlanticprojects.com/experience.html Atlantic Projects] , and uses a (CCGT) type power plant to generate up to 1,360MWe of electricity. It opened in July 1997. There has been some controversy locally that the access for the site was originally agreed to be via the [http://www.powergeneration.siemens.com/press/press-pictures/combined-cycle-power-plants/didcot-2.htm site] entrance for Didcot A on "Basil Hill Road"', however the 'temporary' access using the former National Grid stores access road is still in use.


It consists of two 680MWe modules, each with two 230MW [http://www.powergeneration.siemens.com/products-solutions-services/products-packages/gas-turbines/large-scale-50hz/sgt5-4000f SGT5-4000F] (former V94.3A) Siemens gas turbines and two heat recovery steam generators, built by International Combustion Ltd (since 1997 known as ABB Combustion Services Ltd), and a steam turbine.


Following privatisation of the CEGB in the early 1990s, Didcot A passed into the control of what became National Power, who also started construction of Didcot B. Successive demergers and mergers have meant the site passed through Innogy (in 2001) and now by npower (UK) [cite web|url=http://www.rwe.com/generator.aspx/rwe-npower/group-structure/language=en/id=242828/rwe-npower-generation-and-renewables-didcot.html|title=Didcot Power Station |publisher=RWE npower|accessdate=2006-11-04] .


Tours are available of Didcot A (if booked) and are free for educational institutions and community groups. Tours last 1.5 or 2 hours for the junior tour and adult tour respectively.

Architectual Reception

* It was voted Britain's third worst eyesore in 2003 by "Country Life" readers [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3266745.stm|title=Britain's Worst Eyesores |publisher=BBC News|accessdate=2006-11-04] , although Didcot A won architectural awards for how well it blended into the landscape, following its construction. Radio Oxford received votes for the station when they conducted a survey of the worst building in Oxfordshire, with some listeners referring to it as looking like "somewhere up north".

* British poet Kit Wright has written an "Ode to Didcot Power Station" using a parodic style akin to that of the early romantic poets.

See also

*List of tallest buildings and structures in Great Britain
*Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom
*Energy policy of the United Kingdom


External links

* [http://www.rwe.com/generator.aspx/rwe-npower/group-structure/language=en/id=242828/rwe-npower-generation-and-renewables-didcot.html RWE npower — Didcot Power Stations]
* [http://www.npower.com/Education/Power_station_visits/Didcot_A.html Power Stations Visits — Didcot A]
* [http://www.apms.org.uk APMS: Advanced Plant Management System]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/oxford/features/2003/11/didcot_power.shtml Architectural views]
* [http://industcards.com/cc-england-south.htm Other CCGTs in southern England]

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