Environmental Protection

Biomass Power Plant to Be Built at Teeside, UK

The British government has consented to the development of the US $815-million Tees Renewable Energy Plant, located at Teesport in northeast England, by British company MGT Power Limited. The approval comes under Section 36 of the Electricity Act.

With a capacity of 295 MW, the plant will generate enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately 600,000 homes and will be one of the largest-ever biomass plants to be built in the world, and one of the largest of all renewable energy projects, according to the company's July 16 press release. The Tees Renewable Energy Plant will begin commercial operation in late 2012.

Chris Moore, director of MGT Power, said: "The government's consent is welcome news as we are at an advanced stage with the forestry establishment for fuel sourcing and power plant procurement. We can now appoint our banks, conclude the financing and reach agreement with our preferred technology bidders. We are moving toward an early construction start with a high degree of confidence."

The plant will help to meet the United Kingdom's environmental and renewable energy targets and add to the country's growing need to diversify its power generation. It will create 600 jobs during the three-year construction period, 150 permanent jobs during the station's lifetime, and once operating will contribute about US $49 million per annum into the North East's economy, supporting a further 300-400 jobs indirectly. It will save 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 per year and will account for 5.5 percent of the UK's renewable electricity target.

The biomass feedstock for the plant will be sourced from certified sustainable forestry projects developed by the MGT team and partners in North America, South America and the Baltic States. These projects will provide clean burning woodchips, which deliver 95 percent greenhouse gas savings in comparison to coal or natural gas through the life cycle and will not use high quality land suitable for food crops.

The plant will use around 2.4m tonnes (2.65m short tons) of woodchips per annum and will operate 24 hours a day, all year round at baseload. This means the Tees Renewable Energy Plant will produce the same amount of renewable electricity over a year as a 1,000-MW wind farm.

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