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MCP Directive comes into force

Any organisation operating a new Medium Combustion Plant or Specified Generator that feeds electricity into the grid may need a permit from the Environment Agency and must also comply with new emissions regulations under the terms of the Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) that was transposed into UK law on January 30, 2018.


EDF Energy explains that the Directive aims to regulate emissions of SO2, NOx and dust released into the air with the sole aim of reducing these harmful substances that are known to be hazardous to human health as well as the environment.


The Directive introduces a Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) limit of 190mg/[email protected]%O2 to all combustion plant/generators in the 1-50MWth range, in England and Wales. Diesel and gas engine generators rated above 400kWe are also included within the Directive.


A statement from the Environment Agency advises that to achieve this standard means abatement such as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) is needed and must be operational before January 1, 2019. Gas fired plant should be able to meet the required emission limits without abatement but they still need a permit from the Environment Agency to operate in compliance with the regulations. 


Alternative options include suspending the feed of electricity into the grid until such time as the necessary abatement has been fitted at which point re-entry to the market as a Tranche A generator is possible, which would require a permit from October 1, 2019. The generating contract may also be surrendered and the unit reverted back to providing on-site emergency back-up to your mains supply.


Environment Agency permits


The following permitting deadlines apply:

* For new Medium Combustion Plant (MCP) 20th December 2018, and 

* For Tranche B Specified Generator (SG) 1st January 2019. 


New MCP means such a plant put into operation after 20th December 2018


SG defined as Tranche B which are greater than 1 MW, includes:

* Units with a Feed in Tariff after 1st December 2016, or

* Capacity Market Agreement 2016 auction or later, or

* Put into operation after 1st December 2016.


However if the capacity is less than 1 MW the same Tranche B definition would apply but at a date one year later.


Or a Balancing Service contract post 31st October 2017.


The descriptions of what constitutes a SG or MCP can be found in the Environment Agency’s application guidance here