WALES Office Minister Stephen Crabb MP visited Aberthaw Power Station, for a tour of the new carbon capture facility set to be piloted at the site.

Mr Crabb visited on Thursday (November 22) in a bid to see how the coal-fired power station is contributing to the goal of the decarbonisation of the UK energy sector.

Aberthaw Power Station, which is owned by RWE npower, has been operating since 1971, and has the capacity to generate more than 1600MW of electricity - enough to meet the needs of about 1.5 million households.

The multi-million pound pilot carbon capture facility, to be launched in the next few weeks, is the first of its kind in Wales and one of the largest in the UK to date.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is an essential technology in tackling global climate change, and ensuring a secure energy supply.

Currently, when coal or gas is burnt to produce electricity, carbon dioxide is produced and released into the atmosphere. CCS technology captures the carbon dioxide and transports it via pipelines to be stored safely offshore in deep underground structures.

The carbon capture pilot at Aberthaw will capture the emissions from 3MW of the station's capacity and will form part of RWE's research programme that aims to provide them with a better understanding of the effectiveness, reliability and costs of the technology.

Mr Crabb, who is MP for Pembrokeshire, was given a tour by power station manager Phil Allen and carbon capture projection manager Dave Carlton.

"It's an incredibly exciting development not just for the power station itself, but for the entire UK energy industry," he said.

"What we have here is a research project at the very cutting edge of investigating carbon capture."

Aberthaw Power Station manager Phil Allen said: "Over the past few years millions of pounds have been invested to reduce emissions from the power station and increase the efficiency of the plant.

"We have a proud heritage of using Welsh coal and we are at the beginning of an important development for the Power Station, Wales and the energy industry.

"The 50 tonnes per day carbon capture pilot plant is the first of its kind in Wales and one of the largest to be built so far in the UK.

"The aim is to improve RWE's understanding of the practical implications of operating a full-scale carbon capture facility in conjunction with normal power plant operations."