UK green lights 60-MW biomass power plant

ESSEX, ENGLAND - A new 60-megawatt (MW) biomass-fuelled power plant will be built at a disused site in Tilbury Docks, Essex, in southeast England.

The proposed power plant, which will be powered by biomass and solid recovered fuel derived from domestic and commercial/industrial waste, will provide enough power for about 100,000 homes. Tilbury Green Power Limited, a subsidiary of Express Energy Holdings, will be the owner of the facility. Proposals to construct power stations with a capacity greater than 50 MW require the consent of Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband.

The combined heat and power plant will supply electricity to the national grid and provide heating to local businesses in the future. The plant should be up and running by 2012.

Carbon emissions from the plant will be just 20% of emissions associated with conventional fossil-fuel-fired power generation and landfill gases. Tilbury Green Power estimates that the plant will save up to 4.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide during its lifetime.

"If we are to tackle climate change, we must reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and also make use of renewable sources of fuel," said Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Hunt, following the granting of permission. "This power station will achieve both those objectives by turning waste into energy and using biomass, which will also contribute to delivering the UK's renewable energy targets. In addition, the three-year construction of the plant will require up to 380 jobs at its peak and up to 120 jobs once it is operational."

In the planning application, Tilbury Green Power maintained that the site at the docks is ideally suited for the power plant, as the location will allow the estimated annual requirement of 300,000 tonnes of biomass to be delivered by barge in 30,000-tonne loads. The biomass will comprise woodchips, with about 90% coming from the United States and Europe and the remaining 10% from the UK. Within three to five years, the company expects that 90% of the biomass will be sourced from the UK.

In July, MGT Power received the go-ahead to build the 295-MW Tees biomass plant at Teesport. The £500 million (US $811.3 million) project will supply power to about 600,000 households, generating about the same amount of electricity per year as a 1,000-MW windfarm. The facility will be operational by 2012.


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