Wood to fuel six power stations

Yorkshire Water will build up to six more gasified wood power stations in the UK, worth £420m, if the Government gives backing to the biomass industries in its renewable energy consultation document, due out within the month. Locations for the new power stations have already been identified, although no planning applications have been made, a […]

Yorkshire Water will build up to six more gasified wood power stations in the UK, worth £420m, if the Government gives backing to the biomass industries in its renewable energy consultation document, due out within the month.

Locations for the new power stations have already been identified, although no planning applications have been made, a company source said this week.

Yorkshire Water is continuing the development of the world’s first commercial-scale gasified wood power station, expected to come on stream in November. The £28m project is led by Dutch contractor Schelde, which will build the 10MW station designed by Arbre Energy, a Yorkshire Water subsidiary, at Eggborough, Yorkshire.

The six new power stations will be four times as big, providing 30-40MW, and costing about £70m apiece. EU grant funding for up to 35% of the investment will be sought.

‘At least half the value of these contracts could go to British engineering companies,’ said Barrie Paterson, Arbre Energy’s construction manager. At the Eggborough site, half the contract value is UK sourced, including the gasifier pressure vessels from K&B Beattie of Blyth, Northumberland, and gas turbines from Alstom in Lincoln.

The fuel will be locally-grown willow. Some 25% of the willow requirement is under contract.

British Biogen, a renewable energy industry lobby group, said it expected the Government’s consultation document to be a ‘turning point’ for the industry.

‘We need political recognition that bioenergy offers a huge new opportunity for UK manufacturing. We also need to create a significant home market,’ said projects manager Jim Birse. The industry is calling for direct Government support for renewables and changes in the terms of access to the electricity and heat markets.

But electricity regulator Offer warned last year that it would cost £15bn to meet the Government’s target of deriving 10% of UK electricity from renewable sources by 2010 needing a 6 8% levy on electricity bills to fund the investment during the period.

The DTI has given an exceptional go-ahead for a new 70MW gas fired power station, because it is a fuel efficient combined heat and power unit. The facility is for British Sugar and it will be built at its factory in York.

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