Spencer clears hurdle in power plant bid

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ENGINEERING firm Spencer has moved a step forward in its funding bid for its plan to create a £150m ‘green power’ station in Hull.

Spencer, which has grown rapidly since it was founded by Hull-born entrepreneur Charlie Spencer in 1989, is seeking £20m from the Yorkshire and Humber European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme to support its Energy Works development.

ERDF applications of this value have to be individually assessed and approved by the European Commission. However, before they can be submitted for consideration, the local management committee of the ERDF programme has to assess the application against the programme’s strategic goals to decide whether to support it or not.

The committee has now agreed to submit the application to the European Commission for approval.

The European Commission will undertake a detailed technical assessment of the application including examination of the benefits the project will bring to the local community, as well as its need for public financial support before it makes a decision.

Energy Works will convert waste into sufficient electricity to power 25,250 homes, using fluidised bed gasification technology. The process converts organic material into a synthetic gas – similar to natural gas – which is used to heat a boiler to produce steam. The steam then turns a turbine and in doing so creates electricity.

The technology will be complemented by solar power.

Spencer will operate the energy park – creating 38 permanent jobs – and work with local education bodies, including the University of Hull, to nurture the next generation of renewable engineers and entrepreneurs.

The first phase of the build will cost £117m, and the grant from the European Regional Development Fund is an essential part of this investment. The second phase will include the creation of anaerobic digestion and in-vessel composting facilities. These will allow Spencer to produce power from a greater range of waste.

Charlie Spencer, chief executive of The Spencer Group, which has a UK-wide workforce of over 300 people, is overseeing the project.

He said: “This is excellent news, which will help us in our bid to place unique green technology at the heart of the Humber region.

“We still have some way to go before gaining the ERDF grant, but this is a very encouraging sign. This is a key hurdle overcome, which brings us closer to making good our promise to deliver a revolutionary green energy plant. Energy Works will contribute to Hull and the Humber region becoming the UK’s renewable energy hub.”

Spencer will now take forward their application directly with the EU and will expect a final decision next year.