Siemens wins 400m pounds power station contract

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SIEMENS, the German engineering group, has won a pounds 400m contract from National Power to build a gas-fired power station at Didcot, Oxfordshire, writes Mary Fagan.

It beat GEC Alsthom, the Franco-British joint venture competing for the deal. The Didcot site has been chosen because it already has a coal-powered station, and planning permission for a second plant is relatively easy to obtain.

Didcot is the third British power station contract to be won by Siemens in the past few years but its first with National Power. Siemens also built PowerGen's pounds 300m gas-fired station at Killingholme, Humberside and is building another at Rye House, Hertfordshire.

Didcot B will have a generating capacity of 1,350 megawatts, making it one of the largest gas-fired plants in Britain. It will be built alongside the existing 2,000 megawatt coal-fired station and is expected to start operating in 1997.

The power station market is dominated by Siemens, GEC Alsthom and ABB, the Swedish- Swiss power engineering group. GEC Alsthom is building the pounds 600m Connah's Quay project in north Wales - PowerGen's third and largest plant - and is also near completion of National Power's Little Barford station in Hertfordshire. ABB was chosen as lead contractor for two of National Power's four gas-fired plants.

National Power has also obtained planning consent for a 1,500 megawatt power station at Staythorpe, Nottinghamshire. PowerGen said last week it would apply for consent on further sites. The generators need gas-fired stations because they are more efficient and less polluting than coal-fired plants.