EDF looks at possible new UK gas power plant

The logo of France's state-owned electricity company EDF is seen on the company's headquarters in Paris, France, November 24, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

LONDON (Reuters) - French utility EDF EDF.PA is considering building a new gas-fired power station in the northeast of England, close to some of its existing plants, the company's British arm said.

To avoid a potential supply gap, Britain needs to invest in new generation to replace aging coal and nuclear plants set to close in the 2020s.

“EDF Energy is examining the possibility of constructing a small gas-fired power station ... on land adjacent to the existing power stations at West Burton in Nottinghamshire,” a spokeswoman for EDF Energy said via email late on Tuesday.

The new gas plant would have a capacity of up to 299 megawatts, less than a tenth of the capacity of the new Hinkley C nuclear plant EDF is also building in Britain.

EDF said it would consult with the local community on the plans over the next few months, but did not give a time frame on when a decision would be made or how long the plant would take to build.

EDF already owns the 2,000 megawatt (MW) West Burton A coal-fired power plant and the 1,500 MW West Burton B gas-fired power plant at the Nottinghamshire site.

“If the (gas) power station was to go ahead it would be ideally suited to provide generation at times of peak demand,” the spokeswoman said.

The growth of intermittent renewable electricity production in Britain means the country needs more flexible generation which can ramp up quickly when demand is high.

(Refiles to clarify headline)

Editing by Edmund Blair