Centrica are in the process of selling the Langage and South Humber Bank gas-fired power plants to Czech company EPH.

The decision has been prompted by the ongoing trend away from large central to smaller, local, decentralized energy.
Iain Conn
Centrica is offloading the plants for £318m in cash to EPH, who has already acquired Eggborough and Lynemouth power plants. The Czech firm has been hoovering up conventional power plants throughout Europe in recent years.

The power stations, which together have a capacity of 2.3 GW, are set to be in Czech hands by the end of the year, as the emergence of solar and storage technologies continue to impact on the conventional model.

The sale is part of Centrica chief executive Iain Conn’s strategy to focus on businesses and consumers as well as smaller “peaking” plants that provide power during periods of very high demand. The deal also comes a day after Centrica said it would close the UK’s biggest gas storage site.

The transaction is subject to merger clearance by the European Union and is expected to complete during the second half of this year.

In response to the news, Peter Kiernan, Lead Analyst, Energy at The Economist Intelligence Unit, said: “The decision by Centrica to sell two combined cycle gas turbine power stations to EPH reflects the company’s decision to shift its priorities towards customer oriented businesses, distributed generation, and energy storage.”

“The capacity of the two plants combined, 2.3GW, amounts to around 7 per cent of the UK’s total gas-fired capacity. Unlike coal, gas will remain a key feature of the UK’s power mix, and there will not be any impact on supply security with the transfer of the plants to a new owner.  However, the sales do reflect the changing priorities of some energy companies seeking to shift away from fossil fuel-based centralised power generation, in part due to the expected growth in small-scale renewables and development of energy storage in the longer term.”