Tilbury Energy Centre


RWE’s Tilbury power station site has a long and established history of power generation. Tilbury B Power Station began full operation in 1969 and, until 2011, operated as a coal-fired power station with the capacity to generate 1,131MW of electricity for the National Grid.

In early 2011, RWE was granted the necessary consents from the Environment Agency and Local Planning Authority to convert all three of the power station’s operational units to generate power from 100% sustainable biomass. The converted plant re-opened in 2012 and ran on biomass for the remainder of its lifetime. Operation of the plant on biomass rather than coal resulted in greenhouse gas savings in excess of 70%.

The station was scheduled to close under the EU’s Large Combustion Plant (LCPD) Directive, giving it 20,000 hours of operation from 1 January 2008. After over 40 years as a coal-fired plant, in 2011 Tilbury commenced generation on 100% sustainable biomass for the remainder of its LCPD hours.

On 13 August 2013 the station generated its final unit of electricity and after 46 years of successful operation, and a combined total of 57 years of electricity generation at the site, the station closed.


In early 2016 part of the Tilbury site was sold for redevelopment. In January 2016 the demolition of RWE’s remaining site began, with demolition contractor Brown and Mason. The demolition of the site received prior approval from Thurrock Council which covers  demolition methodology, hours of working and operations on site.

The local community and stakeholders have been kept informed throughout the demolition process and are given prior notice to any explosive demolition activity.

The demolition is progressing well and four successful controlled explosive demolitions have already taken place.

The other main structures such as the chimneys, boiler house and bunker house are scheduled for explosive demolition later this year. Further details on these milestones will be provided nearer the time. The complete demolition of the site is expected towards the end of 2018.

What has  been happening at RWE Generation UK

Since the closure of a number of our power stations across the UK, our Business Development teams have been assessing all land owned by RWE Generation in the UK for future power generation opportunities. The ability to develop future power generation investment options is important for RWE.  However,  we have more land than is required and so are selectively divesting land that is surplus to our requirements.

This approach sees us both holding the best strategic sites for our business whilst maximising value by divesting those surplus to our needs

Over the past two years we have sold;

  • Willington site and associated consent for CCGT and gas pipeline
  • Part of Didcot A Power Station site
  • Part of Tilbury Power Station site
  • Fawley Power Station and the site

Tilbury Energy Centre

RWE Generation is proposing to submit plans to develop Tilbury Energy Centre at the former Tilbury B Power Station site.  The development would  include the potential for a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power station with capacity of up to 2,500 Megawatts, 100 MW of energy storage facility and 300MW of open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGT). The exact size and range of these technologies will be defined as the project progresses, based on an assessment of environmental impacts, as well as market and commercial factors.

The development consent application will also include a 3km  gas pipeline that will connect the proposed plant to the transmission network which runs to the east of the Tilbury power station.  The proposed CCGT power station would be located on the coal stock yard at the site of the former power station, but would be physically much smaller than its predecessor (a coal/biomass plant).

Why now

RWE Generation has a strong position in the UK energy market with an overall installed capacity of 8.54GW. It operates and owns 7.24GW gas, 1.56 GW hard coal, 284MW other- oil and 55 MW biomass.  RWE Generation UK currently owns and operates one of the most modern and efficient gas fleets in Europe.

The current UK total electricity demand is around 1.1TW. It is predicted that even with energy efficiency measures in place, over the next 10 years total electricity demand will be similar to 2016 levels.

Over the next 10 years it is likely that more power stations will close due to the age of plant or economics of operations. The UK government has also launched a consultation on the future of coal with clear signs that there will be a phase out of coal fired generation by 2025.

Around 25 GW of gas plants will close or need to be upgraded or come to the end of their life by 2030.

This future energy vision will not come cheap and it is estimated that more than£200 billion of investment is needed in UK generation and infrastructure in next 15-20 years.

Where will future energy come from?

It is expected that renewable generation will continue to grow, almost doubling capacity over next 20 years. However it is important that the UK has a flexible, secure, affordable energy generation system to support the renewable fleet. An essential part of this will be efficient Combined Cycle Gas Turbine plants(CCGT) and flexible Open Cycle Gas Turbine projects.

The UK is connected to continental Europe through interconnectors and all indications are that this will be increased in coming years.

Nuclear capacity is likely to remain constant over next 20 years as either new replaces old or the old plant is life extended.

An important development is energy storage and batteries which looks likely to grow rapidly. This, coupled with a growing new generation of small scale capacity, makes for innovations in grid systems and markets.

Up to 20GW of new CCGTs may be required to provide capacity, however the uncertainty in load factor requirements will require both peaking and CCGT plant.

Next steps – planning process

The proposed Tilbury Energy Centre (TEC) is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) as defined by Section 14(1)(a) and 15(2) of The Planning Act 2008 (as amended) as it is ‘a generating station exceeding 50 MW’. Applicants seeking to construct an NSIP are required under the Planning Act 2008 to obtain a Development Consent Order (DCO). It is RWE Generation’s intention to submit a development consent application for the TEC to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) under Part 5 of the Planning Act 2008.

The proposed TEC is also a ‘Schedule 1’ development under the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/572) as it constitutes “Thermal power stations and other combustion installations with a heat output of  300 megawatts or more”. In light of this, an EIA is required for the TEC and an ES must be prepared in accordance with these Regulations to accompany the DCO application.

A significant amount of environmental survey and modelling work has previously been completed for the site and its immediate area. These data sets will be used, where appropriate, during the development process for the energy centre. Data sets will be extended to accommodate a full assessment of the gas pipeline. Environmental surveys will take place during 2017 and early 2018.

Detailed consultation will be undertaken on the proposals before a formal application for consent is submitted to PINS. It is currently anticipated that the formal application will be made in late 2018.

How can we find out more information

RWE is committed to provide a meaningful consultation on the proposed development with the local community, businesses and interested parties. We will regularly provide updates on the project on this website including the following channels;

Twitter @RWE_UK

Planning Inspectorate website

E-mail to rwegenerationuk@rwe.com

Press release


If you have any enquiries please contact us.