Ironically, despite all the talk of the possible resurgence of nuclear and coal-fired power plants, Britain's next new build power facility will be a conventional gas-fired operation to be constructed by Centrica.

According to reports in the UK press, the new facility will be built by the British Gas owner in Devon at a cost of GBP400 million and with a projected completion date of winter 2008.

The new plant, which will be located in Langage, near Plymouth in Devon, will power a million homes through its 885MWs of capacity.

Centrica’s outgoing chief executive Sir Roy Gardner believes the development is good for the country, while energy minister Malcolm Wicks said that, Langage will contribute towards the UK’s security of supply.

However, the energy minister’s apparent lack of overt enthusiasm for the project reflects the fact that recent discussions regarding Britain’s future energy requirements have pointed to gas-fired plants not being the solution. Such plants remain exposed to volatile wholesale gas market prices, while doing little to help the UK government meet its emissions targets.

Centrica believes the facility will supply the power needs of about 11% of its customers once it is operational.