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This is Hull and East Riding: Biomass is the buzz word and we're leading the way

27/09/2012

The word of the moment is biomass and looking ahead it is going to be an important part of future power supplies to keep factories working. Here we take a look at projects south of the Humber which will help bring in a new era of power – and jobs.

THE South Humber area is poised to be a national leader in biomass development with massive investment on the cards.

‚ÄčAs the trend towards "green" fuels gathers pace biomass, which maintains a closed carbon cycle that produces no net increases in carbon dioxide levels, can bring a young, dynamic business – and jobs – to the area.

Interest and investment by major names within the energy business underline the importance now placed upon biomass. But the burning question which hangs over it at the moment is what investment the Government is prepared to make.

In April, formal consent was given for a proposed £600-million biomass plant at Immingham that will create 1,000 jobs – 850 during construction followed by 150 permanent posts when the plant is opened. The project is a joint venture between Drax and Siemens Project Ventures and is designed to generate enough electricity to power up to 512,000 homes.

But for the moment, the project remains dependent on future Renewables Obligation support from the Government. Earlier this year a proposed biomass plant at Selby was scrapped with Drax Power citing inadequate government support.

A final decision is expected later in the year, a spokesperson for Drax Power confirmed earlier this month.

Meanwhile, detailed background work on the £130-millon plan to build a biomass-fuelled energy plant at Immingham is progressing well.

Full planning consent was granted in April to developers Real Ventures who are aiming to have the plant operation by 2015. At present work is continuing on obtaining necessary permits and in making financial arrangements.

Known as The Reality Energy Centre, it is a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant and will use sustainably sourced wood pellets as fuel. It will provide hundreds of new jobs – between 200 and 250 of them during a 30-month long construction and commissioning period and an estimated 35 permanent posts during its 25 year operational lifespan.

Ray Tucker, chief executive officer of Real Ventures, says: "We are now proceeding to secure funding for the final design and construction work for the Immingham project."

The plant will be built on a three-hectare brownfield site owned by Associated British Ports. It is the first of five planned in various locations across the country. Three of these are currently under development.

Each will produce up to 49.5mw of electricity from renewable sourced in the process, creating immediate and significant carbon savings. Switch-on is planned from 2015