Industry permit review sees emissions reduction

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has completed a review of the environmental permits of five large scale power stations in Wales, resulting in enhanced environmental performance and reduced emissions from next year.

The permits at Pembroke Power Station, Severn Power Station, Connah’s Quay Power Station, Baglan Bay Power Station and Barry Cogeneration Plant have all been reviewed against the latest industry best practice - the EU Best Available Techniques Reference Document (BREF).

This is a requirement of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and ensures that all plants continue to use the best techniques for preventing or minimising emissions and impacts on the environment. Techniques can include both the technology used and the way an installation is designed, built, maintained, operated and decommissioned.

The permits have now been re-issued with updated conditions and tightened air emission limits for pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide. For some plants, such as the Barry Cogeneration Plant in south Wales, this is expected to reduce emissions by as much as 50% after August 2021.

Holly Noble, Permitting Team Leader from NRW said:

“Gas fired power stations produce almost 75% of all electricity generated in Wales, so it’s an important industry, but as the regulator it’s also important that we continue to seek the best environmental performance.
“Earlier this year, the Welsh Government announced new proposals to ensure that all homes in Wales are heated and powered only from clean energy sources – as part of their wider plans to address the climate emergency.
“The BREF publication, and our permit review coincides with RWE’s decision to close and decommission the coal-fired power station at Aberthaw, which we are currently overseeing. Their decision will also significantly contribute towards Wales’ carbon reduction targets and will mean that power generation in Wales will be coal-free, five years ahead of the UK’s target of 2025.”

The environmental permits of other industries will also be subject to the same review by NRW next year. These include the Waste Treatment, and Food, Milk and Drink sectors.