Wood power for Wales

Energy Secretary John Hutton has granted consent for a 350MW wood-chip fuelled electricity generating plant to be built in Port Talbot, south Wales.

According to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), this will be the biggest biomass plant in the world, generating enough clean electricity to power half of the homes in Wales. It joins eight major renewables projects already given the green light in the past 12 months.

When completed at the end of the decade, the £400m plant from developer Prenergy, will contribute around 70 per cent of the Welsh Assembly’s 2010 renewable electricity target.

With biomass generation, BERR said the plant would be able to produce continuous, base-load electricity over the 25 years of its expected lifetime.

The wood fuel is expected to come from sustainable sources in the US and Canada.

This is the latest in a series of renewable consents cleared by BERR ministers. Six offshore wind farms have been given the go-ahead, alongside an onshore wind farm in Devon and the Wave Hub marine energy project, which will be sited off the coast of north Cornwall.