Business Green: Estover toasts Sandwich biomass plant28/05/2013
£65m combined heat and power plant at Local Enterprise Zone in Kent could start construction next year
By Jessica Shankleman
Renewable power developer Estover Energy has taken a major step forward with plans to build a £65m combined heat and power plant in Kent, powered by biomass.
The company announced last week that it would shortly apply to Dover District Council to build the CHP plant at the Discovery science and technology park in Sandwich, from which it will be able to supply 11MW of electricity and 8MW of heat.
The Discovery Park is a former Pfizer research site that also used to operate a CHP plant. Estover hopes to be able to plug its new plant into the existing infrastructure to provide heat and power to the other businesses on the site via a power purchase agreement, as well as supply power to the National Grid.
As the Park is also within an Local Enterprise Zone, it benefits from simplified planning regulations and improved infrastructure, designed to help boost development.
If consent is secured, Estover aims to start construction in 2014, potentially bringing £80m into the local economy, while helping to create a stable market for low-grade wood in the area.
Estover said the plant would use locally source low-grade wood fuel to generate power for both the park and to feed into the National Grid.
"We believe that using the by-product from woodland management and harvesting to generate energy is a positive alternative to fossil fuels, and one that is supported by government and many environmental and rural campaigning groups," said Andrew Troup, development director of Estover Energy.
"Low-grade wood fuel is clean, has low emissions and is good for the local area, both providing rural jobs, and stimulating investment in local woodland and forestry."
The plans were also welcomed by Communities and Local Government Secretary of State Eric Pickles, as the plant would be based in an Enterprise Zone.
"I'm delighted that Estover Energy is taking advantage of these changes. Their ambitious plan for a new £65m biomass plant at Discovery Park will boost employment and growth in Kent," he said.