The power station, which will be able to supply enough energy to meet the needs of around 70,000 homes and displace the emission of 140,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases every year, will be the UK’s largest dedicated biomass station when completed.
Work should start on the project later this year, with commercial operation expected in December 2007.
The biggest of the UK National Lottery distributors, the Big Lottery Fund, supported the development of the new biomass plant with a grant of £18m from the Bioenergy Capital Grants Scheme.
The 220,000 oven-dried tonnes of fuel required for the station every year will come from the local area, with initial contracts likely to be for forestry residue. Within four years of operation, it is expected that up to 45,000 oven-dried tonnes a year will come from willow harvested by local farmers.
It is estimated that the power station, which will be located at Steven’s Croft, will create 40 direct jobs and 300 indirect jobs in forestry and farming.