Uskmouth conversion project to be completed in 2 phases

By Erin Voegele | July 27, 2020

Simec Atlantis Energy Ltd. announced in mid-July that it now plans to develop its proposed Uskmouth power station conversion project in the U.K. in two phases. The company is also considering options to co-locate data centers with the biomass conversion project.

“Having adjusted for current expected COVID disruptions, Atlantis has determined, in consultation with stakeholders and potential financiers, that the project will now be developed in two phases,” Atlantis said in an operational update released July 16. The first phase of the project will convert one 110 megawatt (MW) unit at the power station to operate using waste-derived fuel pellets considering of 50 percent waste biomass materials. The facility’s second 110 MW unit will be converted to be fueled with the waste pellets following successful commissioning of phase one.

Atlantis said final design studies are currently underway to inform the scope of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. EPC contract negotiations are currently expected to conclude in the first quarter of 2021. Financial close for phase one is expected to occur in the first half of next year. The phase one conversion project is expected to take 18 months to complete. Atlantis said it will seek to achieve financial close for phase two of the project as soon as possible following the commissioning of phase one.

In the update, Atlantis also said it has engaged data center development specialist TechRE to explore options to locate edge and hyperscale data centers within the Uskmouth power station development envelope. The company said it is proposed that power could be delivered through a private wire network under a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) to owners and operators of these onsite data centers.

“The decision to phase the conversion into two stages is prudent as it de-risks supply chain timelines, fuel supply and most importantly the timeline to first electrons exported to the grid and therefore revenue generation,” said Tim Cornelius, CEO of Simec Atlantis Energy. “Further, we are delighted to be working with TechRE on the potential development of a large, private wire supply contract to data centre operators at Uskmouth. This could become one of the most exciting corporate PPA projects in the U.K., demonstrating how the digital economy can work hand-in-hand with sustainable energy generators to establish more data centre capacity in the U.K. to meet ever growing demands in an ethical and responsible way.”