RWE npower, the UK unit of German utility RWE, has signed a deal with French construction firm Alstom to secure the possible construction of a modern combined-cycle gas turbine power station at Pembroke in west Wales, UK. The company hopes to receive consent to enable construction of the GBP800 million plant to begin in 2008.

The new combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant in Pembroke would have a capacity of up to 2,000MW, enough to supply around three million homes, and would reduce average annual CO2 emissions by six to 10 million tonnes, depending on how hard it operates, compared to a current coal-fired power station.

The investment would be the latest in a line of low-carbon power generation announcements this year from RWE npower, including the construction of a 1,650MW modern gas power station at Staythorpe in Nottinghamshire, which gets underway this month. Four new onshore wind farms and a new, GBP190 million, offshore wind farm at Rhyl Flats in North Wales have also been announced.

The new CCGT plant in Staythorpe in Nottinghamshire will reduce average annual CO2 emissions by 4.5 to 7.5 million tonnes compared to a coal station, and supply enough energy to meet the needs of around two million homes.

RWE npower has also applied for consent for a third offshore wind farm at Gwynt-y-mor, off the coast of North Wales. If this project was to go ahead, its capacity of 750MW would make it one of the biggest wind farms in the world.

RWE npower also revealed that it will commit around GBP60 million to upgrading equipment at its existing ‘Didcot B’ gas power station to improve efficiency. Completing all of these projects would comprise a total investment of GBP1.7 billion.

Andrew Duff, chief executive of RWE npower, said: We will close our existing coal power stations at Didcot and Tilbury by 2015. These decisions, along with the GBP1.7 billion investments we have announced, will put us on track to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we emit per unit of power generated by around 33% by 2015 compared to 2000, and by 50% compared to 1990 levels.