The 80-megawatt (MW) facility in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, will be built by Peterborough Renewable Energy Limited (PREL) and is expected to cost about £250 million (US$415 million).
Located on a 25-acre site at Storey's Bar Gate, the energy park will burn up to 650,000 tonnes of biomass waste to generate enough power for 60,000 homes, displacing about 600,000 tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions annually. The unique aspect of this biomass facility is that additional waste will be remade into other useful products, from building blocks to glass.
The plant is the first of what PREL hopes will be a nationwide network of energy parks.
"We are delighted that the government has given us the go-ahead to build the first renewable energy park in the UK," said PREL Managing Director Chris Williams. "As a nation, we have set ourselves very ambitious renewables targets and only by embracing renewable technologies such as PREL's will we be able to achieve these.
Waste can be a valuable resource and using it in a sustainable way will play an essential role in making our future more green."
Energy and Climate Change Minister David Kidney commented: "This plant will provide reliable, low-carbon energy for years to come. The UK needs to generate 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, and energy from biomass could contribute as much as a third of that. Meeting our target means we have to follow the East of England's example and build more plants like this."
The number of UK biomass projects, both planned and in the process of obtaining planning permission, has risen steadily in 2009. Last month, Gaia Power Tees Valley Limited received the go-ahead to build a £200 million (US$331.6 million) biomass plant at Billingham Reach Industrial Estate in Tees Valley, England.
In September, German energy giant E.ON AG revealed plans to build a 150-MW biomass-fired power plant at the Royal Portbury Dock, near Bristol in southeast England while in July, MGT Power received permission to develop one of the world's largest biomass projects, the 295-MW Tees renewable energy plant.
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