WELSH innovation, green ingenuity and local sourcing lie behind the creation of one of the most efficient power plants in Europe - according to three businesses involved in its construction.

RWE npower, the operator of the new Pembroke Power Station commissioned last September, worked closely with Aberthaw-based CelticAsh and Lafarge Tarmac's Cement Works at East Aberthaw during the plant's construction phase to overcome a number of tricky technical challenges whilst saving around a quarter of the CO2 emissions of making cement.

Allan Everett, general manager of CelticAsh, explains that the team hit on the idea that ash left after power generation could be taken from Aberthaw Power Station, Pembroke's sister site, and used to replace over a quarter of the raw materials used for making the cement for the new station.

"Around 7,000 tonnes of ash was used - the equivalent of the weight of almost 600 double-decker buses," he says. "While using ash in cement is tried-and-tested technology, because the ‘ingredients' were local, what we ended up with was a special low-carbon Welsh cement. There was an added bonus that the concrete made from this cement produced less heat when curing, which in turn reduced the risk of cracking during the construction phase."

Allan adds that a state-of-the-art mobile readymix concrete plant was also made especially for this project. "This was set up on location at Pembroke to reduce the number of vehicles needed, lowering CO2 emissions further - more wins for the environment."

Pembroke Power Station is one of the most efficient in Europe, and is supplied by natural gas through a new pipeline that runs deep under Milford Haven and connects the power station to the National Grid's National Gas Transmission System. The £1 billion state-of-the-art station will supply energy to over 3.5 million households.