On July 3rd Drax Group, the new owners of the Progress Power project, met with local councillors and local landowners at the Eye Community Centre. Several members of Drax’s project team attended the meeting including Andy Koss, the CEO of its generation business, Drax Power.
The meeting was an opportunity for Drax to explain its business operations in the UK and talk through its reasons for acquiring the Progress scheme. This includes the strategic need for rapid response gas power generation developments within Britain’s power system. The potential timeframe for the construction and operation of the power station were also discussed. If Drax secures a Capacity Market contract in the early part of next year (2018), construction of the Progress scheme (the power generation plant, the underground gas pipeline, the underground electrical connection and the sub-station) would start later in the year and expect to be completed by 2020/21.
Councillors from Suffolk County Council and Mid Suffolk District Council attended the meeting, along with councillors representing Eye Town Council and parish councils in the vicinity of the site. They, along with local landowners who were also present, raised a number of questions about the status and future of the project, which are summarised in a meeting note on this website along with the presentation given at the event itself. Some additional pre-works photos were shared following the meeting.
Drax employees highlighted that the power station would have a single turbine with a single 35m-high stack. The sub-station building associated with the project is likely to be 30-40% smaller than was originally envisaged based on on-going discussions with National Grid. In addition, there was a discussion about Drax’s proposals to establish a Community Benefit Fund for the area surrounding the project; attendees were keen to see the Fund supporting local community initiatives.
It was agreed that another local liaison meeting would be arranged once National Grid had prepared its proposed design and layout of the sub-station; the meeting is likely to take place later this year.
The following day (July 4th), Drax met with officials from Suffolk County Council to discuss the project and provide feedback from the community event the night before. Officials from the authority agreed to provide an update to councillors on the points discussed during that meeting and the process for discharging all planning obligations related to the project going forward.