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Grimsby Telegraph: 100 New Jobs for Humber Region in £700m Biomass Boom


IMMINGHAM is at the centre of a £700-million investment in a trans-Atlantic biomass energy supply chain spanning 5,000 miles.

A total of 100 new jobs are set to be created in the Humber after Associated British Ports signed a 15-year contract with Drax Power, that will see terminal investments of £100-million made for dedicated wood pellet handling.

The town may have missed out on the economic windfall and major employment that would have followed had a proposed power plant from Drax stacked up financially, but the port remains key to the company’s future.

For it will now be the primary focus of activity to ensure the huge infrastructure project underway at the Selby power station to convert several units from coal to green energy, is fed.

Immingham, and to a lesser extend Tyne, Hull and Goole, will now be the gateways linking Europe’s second largest coal-fired power station to a £350-million investment in the material gathering, processing and transportation, taking place in America.

The dollars are being matched on home turf, at the sprawling Drax power station, where 8 per cent of the UK’s electricity is generated.

The biggest single investment is at Humber International Terminal, Port of Immingham, where it is understood the bulk of the jobs will also be created.

ABP will create a dedicated import facility, the Immingham Renewable Fuels Terminal, to handle Panamax-size bulk carriers which will service up to three million tonnes of wood pellets a year. The investment will require new quayside discharge plant with associated equipment to convey the biomass from the ships to new silos capable of storing up to 100,000 tonnes. From these silos, cargo will be conveyed to a new a train loading facility which will service the specialist rail wagons transporting the biomass to the power station at Selby. The project also includes a significant upgrade in rail infrastructure at HIT to facilitate the servicing of this new trade.

ABP’s new group chief executive, James Cooper, said: “We are very pleased to be able to announce that we have signed this contract with Drax. As the UK’s leading ports operator we look forward to building on our already long-standing relationship with a leading UK energy producer.

“ABP’s Humber Ports are already at the forefront of the renewables industry. This investment looks set to secure the Humber region’s position as a centre of excellence for the development of the low carbon energy future”.

Commenting on the contract, Drax’s chief executive, Dorothy Thompson, said: “Investment in the biomass supply chain is critical to developing this nascent industry and realising its huge potential. Importantly, this investment helps to deliver both the low carbon and growth agendas set for the UK, whilst providing secure and reliable supplies of cost-effective renewable power. We are delighted to be working with a trusted partner in making real progress towards a low carbon economy.”