Biomass power comes to Redcar

Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks will today officially open the Sembcorp Biomass Power Station in Redcar, Teesside, the UK’s first large scale wood burning power station.

The station, which cost more than £60m to build, uses 300,000 tonnes of sustainable wood a year to generate 30MW of electricity, which will be sold to energy company E.ON UK.

Mr Wicks said: ‘The UK energy market is one of the strongest and most diverse in the world. Our challenge is to find innovative ways to generate energy sustainably. The Sembcorp Biomass Power Station is a real success story – providing carbon-neutral power to the homes of thousands, using fuel from local sources. I salute the efforts of Sembcorp’s workers and management today.’

Paul Gavens, executive vice president and managing director of Sembcorp Utilities UK, said: ‘We are greatly honoured that the Minister of State for Energy has agreed to open our plant.

‘Sembcorp is proud to be at the forefront of this type of biomass power generation and we are committed to creating a greener future for our business.’

The intention to build the UK’s first 100 per cent wood-to-energy power station was formally announced in March 2005. Work on the station began later that year and following commissioning, full commercial production started in September this year.

The wood for the station comes from four separate sources: recycled wood, sawmill offcuts, managed forests and a specially grown energy crop – a type of willow known as short rotation coppice.

All the chipped wood is mixed in careful proportions before being fed into the boiler, which encompasses technology already in use in Scandinavia and other areas.