A LEADING biomass import centre for Teesside is on the cards - but it's dependent on Government policy remaining favourable, port chiefs have claimed.
Teesside’s plans for an import centre could transform the area into a major transport hub for the expanding biomass sector.
But bosses at Teesport owner PD Ports say the Government’s plans around electricity market reform and subsidies, such as the Renewables Obligation, must remain pro-biomass if it’s to go ahead.
Biomass is the fourth largest global energy source after oil, coal and gas - and many of the UK's coal-fired power plants are converting to it.
Teesport owner PD Ports wants to answer the growing demand for supplies with a leading dedicated import centre.
It would generate hundreds of jobs and underpin the port’s 1,250-strong workforce.
PD Ports has been devising the plans for the last 12 months - and bosses say the facility could be the largest in the UK.
Meanwhile, the UK market is moving towards more biomass - a few months ago Drax, the owner of Europe’s largest coal-fired power station at Selby, and provider of 7% of the UK’s electricity, confirmed its plans to transform itself into a predominantly biomass-fuelled generator.
Initially, the company plans to convert three of its six generating units to run on sustainable biomass.
There’s still a way to go before all the legislation is in place - yet Teesport chiefs are optimistic.
PD Ports chief executive David Robinson, pictured, said: “There is the ROCs (Renewables Obligation Certificates) regime, and still some electricity market reform to go.
“This project very much depends on Government legislation being favourable towards biomass.
“Broadly, it still is - but these are very preliminary stages of planning for us.
“It will generate construction jobs over a two-year build programme and around 50 permanent jobs.
“But it will underpin 1,250 jobs.
“Teesport would be one of the largest import centres in the country.”