PLANS to build a £130m power station as part of the region’s “green revolution” were approved by councillors yesterday.
Real Ventures’ Reality Energy Centre near King George Dock in Hull will provide enough green electricity to power the equivalent of 95,000 homes.
It will also create up to 220 jobs during construction and permanent jobs for 35 people during its 25-year lifespan.
The decision is a much-needed boost to the local economy after a series of job losses were announced at manufacturers including Seven Seas, McCain and Kimberly-Clark at Barton-upon-Humber.
It comes as Hull Council said its was finalising a deal to develop the site of the former Hedon Road maternity hospital nearby, as a business park, which would be attractive to renewables industries, and could provide employment for up to 350 people.
Councillors took less than five minutes yesterday to approve Real Ventures’ plans.
Chief executive officer of Real Ventures, Ray Tucker, said: “We are proud to be taking a key role in the green energy revolution that is taking place in the Humber region.
“We have been very pleased with the encouragement from local government and economic regeneration staff on both banks of the river. We have also been pleased with the good working relationships developed with Associated British Ports, the landowner for both sites.
“We are now working in more detail on the fuel supply and construction aspects of the two projects and envisage reaching financial closure with banks and equity partners early next year, to allow construction to begin.”
The developers, who already have planning permission for a similar 49mw power plant at the port of Immingham, say they will use pelleted virgin wood from the residues of sustainable commercial forestry operations. The majority, 250,000 tonnes, will be shipped into Hull by sea.
Commercial director John Gallimore said they had “multiple investors” interested in the project and were also finalising who would build both power stations. He said: “We hope to be able to get construction under way in the spring, with the construction phase taking approximately two years. There are UK-based companies on the shortlist.”
The site is leased from ABP on a long-term arrangement. Mr Gallimore said: “We don’t have enough fuel in the UK to provide for electricity requirements. We took the view that the fuel had to be imported into the UK in the same way that we imported gas and coal.”
The business park has enterprise zone status which offers occupiers tax breaks and simplified planning rules.
Coun Steve Bayes, portfolio holder for energy and regeneration, said much still depended on the direction the Government’s Energy Bill took. “People like David Cameron and Ed Davey are saying the right things but you have to see that translated into legislation and that is what everybody is waiting for,” he said.
“If you are investing tens or hundreds of millions of pounds on a project that will run for the next 10, 15 years or longer you have to know that it is supported by Government policy. Everybody wants to know that they are building on solid ground.”
Coun Bayes said they were offering the land at Hedon Road to the chosen developer, as well as submitting a planning application for change of use.