Go-ahead for £130m biomass power plant

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PLANS for a £130m biomass-fuelled power plant at the Port of Immingham have been given the go-ahead.

The plant, supplying heat and electricity from woodchips, is now expected to be the first built of three planned by developers Real Ventures of Immingham and the go-ahead from North East Lincolnshire Council is seen as a significant step in the “greening” of the regional economy.

Plans for the second could see a £130m plant on the opposite bank of the Humber, in Hull, with a third in the Isle of Wight.

Real Energy says its Reality Energy Centre at Immingham will generate 49 megawatts of electricity, plus spare heat, when it becomes operational in 2015 – enough electricity for 90,000 homes, or a third of the city of Hull. Between 200 and 250 jobs will be created by 30 months of construction and 35 permanent posts for the estimated 25-year operating life of the plant.

It will use some of the 100 million tons of forestry trimmings which are estimated to go to waste in the EU every year.

Jason Longhurst, head of development for North East Lincolnshire Council, said last night: “We are extremely pleased to grant this exciting development planning permission.

“North East Lincolnshire is open for business at the forefront of the expanding European renewable energy industry.”

John Fitzgerald, Grimsby & Immingham port director for ABP, said: “This is further confirmation of the importance of the UK’s busiest port as a developing hub for the renewable energy business.”

The Humber has become the focus for about £1bn worth of renewable energy investments, which includes proposals for Europe’s largest offshore wind park on the south bank, and plans by Siemens for a £200m wind turbine manufacturing plant on Alexandra Dock, which are due to be considered by Hull Council’s planning committee.