Back up power for your community


Centrica is developing proposals to build two small back-up power plants off Station Road in Nursling.

We wanted to let you and your neighbours know about our plans before the planning process began and sent newsletters to the local community in March. Two planning applications have now been submitted  to Test Valley Borough Council for separate proposals just off the M27 in Nursling and these are available to view on the council’s planning portal. You will need to search for 16/00815/FULLS and 16/00811/FULLS respectively. A decision on the application is expected in June 2016.

Located on industrial and grazing land between the Nursling substation and the M27 motorway, the proposed gas-fired plants would each be roughly the size of a warehouse and capable of producing enough power to meet the needs of around 20,000 homes.



Over the past year, we have been looking for suitable sites in this region. Our first step was to identify sites close to electricity, gas and grid connections to minimise the amount of work required to link the site up to the wider UK energy network.

Once these sites were identified, an appraisal of the site-specific factors was undertaken, including land use, local communities, flooding, landscape, site access and local ecology.

The two proposed sites in Nursling have been recommended as suitable locations as they both offer good grid connection, are very well screened from view and would make use of unused land between the motorway and the existing electrical substation. 

Aerial Nursling Site

Key facts

  • The total area used is about half the size of a football pitch (50m x 55m)
  • Unused land
  • No pylons
  • Capable of supplying 20,000 homes, at peak times
  • Remotely operated
About the plant

The whole site would be constructed on less than half a hectare of land (about half the size of a football pitch), making it much smaller than a traditional power station.

Example Site Diagram

View larger diagram

Rated at around 20MW, the plant would consist of up to eight small gas engines, designed to be operated remotely.

The technology is similar to a car engine. The fuel, in this case gas, is burned with air inside the engine to produce hot gases that are used to drive a piston up and down. In a car the power generated by the piston is used to drive the wheels. However in a power plant like this, the motion of the pistons will be used to drive the generator, which produces the electricity.

The engines would be operated as a highly flexible ‘peaking plant’ meaning that they can quickly respond to local peaks in demand within around five minutes.

The plants would typically run for only a few hours on weekdays to meet periods of high demand and help ensure our homes have a secure supply of electricity for years to come.


site elevation

Site elevation
View larger diagram

The planning process

Designing, building and operating safe technology with minimal local impacts is our priority. The planning applications for the Nursling site was carefully developed and submitted in April 2016. As part of this our Independent specialists have carried out a number of studies and surveys to make sure our plans don’t adversely affect the local area.

These surveys include the following:

  • Ecology
  • Air quality
  • Views and landscape
  • Drainage
  • Ground conditions, and
  • Traffic


Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this plant needed?

Due to the intermittent nature of renewable energy (such as wind and solar) and the phasing out of coal power stations, there is a growing need for new power plants that can respond quickly to local demands and provide a secure supply of energy.

Gas engine technology is an efficient, responsive technology that is able to generate power at very short notice.

Will it be noisy?

No. For the majority of the time there will be little or no noise produced because the engines will not be operational. In addition, the engines will all be housed in a sound insulated engine hall to minimise any noise when the units are running.

What about emissions?

The proposed sites will use gas, one of the cleanest fuels available. Together with clean combustion technology, similar to an LPG fuelled vehicle, which will keep any emissions as low as possible.

Each engine exhaust stack will be fitted with Continuous Emissions Monitoring Equipment (CEMS), and we will also be working with Test Valley Borough Council and the Environment Agency to ensure the engines meet all applicable legal limits. 

What will it look like?

Where possible we’ve worked to identify possible locations that are already well screened from view and in commercial areas.
For an example of what the site will look like please refer to the 
example site diagram.

Will there be a lot of traffic during construction?

Some construction traffic will be inevitable; however the majority of the equipment will be assembled elsewhere before being delivered to site. The only construction work in Nursling will be site preparations, the building foundations and the equipment installation within the engine hall.

Construction is not planned until 2017 at the earliest and we will make sure that our working hours and delivery times are arranged to keep any impacts on the community to a minimum.

Is it safe?

Yes. This is a very safe and well tested technology, which will be monitored round the clock. Our teams will also regularly visit the site to carry out checks and any maintenance or repairs that are needed. 

Have your say

We hope this has explained what we’re planning to do and why. Test Valley Borough Council will be in touch as part of the formal consultation process, giving you a chance to provide feedback and make any comments.

If you have any questions in the meantime you can get in touch with the team by emailing or if you would prefer to speak to someone direct, you can call us on 0800 294 0616. This number will take you to a voicemail service so please leave a message and we will arrange for one of the team to call you back.