21 JUN 2024

Metlen reaches major milestone on OCGTs for Drax in the UK

Metlen Energy & Metals (formerly MYTILINEOS) who are building three open-cycle gas turbine (OCGTs) power plants in the UK for Drax, have reached a significant milestone on the projects.

The Hirwaun, Progress and Millbrook OCGT power stations, which will have a gross output of 299MW each, have now had all key critical components delivered to site and they are currently now being installed.

Each OCGT power station has now received a 332-tonne Siemens Energy SGT5-4000F gas turbine; a 327.5-tonne generator and a 222-tonne transformer. Each of the nine loads had to be delivered as an abnormal indivisible load (AIL) through the UK road network to each of the three sites at Hirwaun near Aberdare in Wales, Progress in Eye in Suffolk and Millbrook in Bedfordshire.

The longest and most complicated delivery was the route taking the components to Millbrook. A journey of 79-miles from the Port of Tilbury in Essex to Millbrook Power station, taking in some of the busiest roads in the UK including the M25 and the M1, at times navigating junctions and built-up areas at walking speed.

Delivering these components required an extensive programme of communications and co-ordination, requiring liaison with emergency services, local authorities, traffic agencies, government bodies and other key stakeholders including tens of thousands of local residents and the travelling public.

With the turbine, generator and transformers all on site, work is now underway in earnest to complete these projects, so the power stations can start to help support the UK’s energy security.

These plants will be used during periods of peak electricity demand and when intermittent renewable technologies are unable to produce the power required to keep the country running.

All three power stations are set to be online later this year. They will operate for between 10 and 20% of the year and as such, will strengthen the UK's renewable energy infrastructure, supporting increased demand and grid stability.

Each power station will have the capacity to generate enough instant electricity to power 150,000 households.