THE ESB is planning to build a €550m power station in the British midlands, which will generate sufficient power for over 1.5m homes, in the first phase of the former state monopoly's €4bn overseas expansion strategy.

The company intends on applying for planning permission for the proposed plant at Burton upon Trent later this year in the hopes of commissioning the plant by the end of 2016.

The gas-fired plant, which will be capable of generating 960 megawatts, will be the largest ever built by ESB International and will produce more than 10% more power than the plants it is developing at Marchwood in Southampton and Carrington near Manchester.

The project is understood to be part of the ESB's commitment to develop 3,200MW of generating capacity in Britain by 2020, which was announced last year.

The strategy, when completed, will make ESB International one of the country's ten largest electricity producers.

According to information released by ESB International to local media, over 800 people will be employed during the construction of the plant with 50 long-term jobs resulting from the project.

According to ESB International's UK general manager, Martin Read, the project is designed to help fill a projected shortfall in British electricity supplies which will develop over the next five years.