Back up power for your community


Introducing the new Peterborough fast response plant.

We’re pleased to confirm that construction will soon be starting on our new fast response plant on land next to the existing power station.

The project forms part of a £180 million investment programme following the UK Government’s Capacity Market auction in December. In this auction we secured agreements to build four new flexible power generation and storage facilities, one of which will be at Peterborough.

We’ve been working to dismantle defunct equipment like the steam cycle and air cooled condenser (pictured above) from the existing plant since late in 2015. Now complete, this has cleared space for the new plant, with much of the old material soon to be taken away to be recycled.

The new plant has been designed to support local security of supply, stepping in to help meet peaks in demand. Rated at 50MW, it will be capable of producing enough power to meet the needs of around 50,000 homes – more than two thirds of all the households in Peterborough.

We are now working with our contractors at Wärtsilä as they prepare to start work on the project later this month. Construction is expected to take around 15 months.


THE New plant

The fast response plant is being built on a small section of land where the fuel oil tanks used to be and will be run independently of the existing power station.

Housed within a warehouse-type structure, the plant will consist of five 10MW reciprocating gas engines. Unlike the existing plant, which uses gas turbines, the plant will burn gas with air to produce hot gases that are used to drive a piston up and down. The motion of the pistons will be used to drive the generator, which then in turn produces electricity.

Together, the engines will be operated as a highly flexible ‘peaking plant’ that will be able to go from a cold start up to full power in under two minutes.

This is a feature that is becoming increasingly important as more intermittent renewable capacity, such as wind and solar, comes on line.

Our expectation is that the plant will typically run for only a few hours a day during the week when demand is at its highest.

Fast Response Plant Scheme


Our construction plan

It is our goal to be a good neighbour. We will be working closely with our main contractor, Wärtsilä Energy Solutions to ensure this.

There will normally be a team of around 20 people working on the site each day. This will reach a peak of 95 during key periods of construction.

The power plant is located in an industrial park so local residents will be unaffected by increased traffic. We have already had conversations with neighbouring companies about how to manage the traffic, and are maintaining an open dialogue with them. 

Peterborough gas-fired plant location


Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this needed? Couldn’t you just increase output from the existing site?

The new facility has been designed to complement the existing plant but what we’re talking about are two very different technologies, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

The gas engines in the new facility are an efficient, responsive technology that can be relied upon to generate power at very short notice, in this case reaching full power within a couple of minutes. In contrast, the existing plant would need more notice to fire up but when it is up and running, it would be cheaper to operate, which has clear benefits.

Do you expect to close the existing power station once the new site opens?

No. The existing plant will continue to supply electricity to the local grid when required. The new plant will complement the operations of the existing site by providing fast response capabilities and helping to secure the future energy needs for the local area.

Will there be a lot of disruption during construction?

Some construction traffic will be inevitable during the project; however the location of the site means disruption for local residents will be minimal. We will be limiting activity on site to 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and 7am to 1pm on Saturdays.

What job opportunities will there be?

While there will be up to 100 people on the site during construction, the facility has been designed to operate remotely so there is no need for additional support beyond the existing site team. During construction, however, we will be encouraging Wärtsilä to use local suppliers where possible. 

Will the plant be noisy when it’s running?

No. The engines will be housed in a sound-insulated warehouse to minimise any noise when the plant is in use.

Is it safe?

The safety of everyone on site during both construction and operation is our first priority. The engines are a very safe and well tested technology, and will be monitored around the clock.

Have your say

If you would like to see how the site is progressing, visit this page for updates.

If you have any questions, you can also get in touch with the team:

In the event of any concerns relating to activity on site, please contact Ronak Patel, Centrica Project Manager, on 07769 546655.