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Funding secured for North-west's biggest biomass CHP plant

A £110m project to construct a 20.2MWe, 7.8MWth combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Widnes, Merseyside will be the largest waste wood renewable energy plant in the North-west.

Over its lifetime, it is estimated it will save around 1.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 35,000 homes.

The 20.2MWe and 7.8 MWthCHP plant will be powered by 146,000 tonnes of grade B-C recovered wood each year, sourced by Stobart Biomass Products under a long-term fuel supply contract.

The facility will provide power to the grid and the heat offtake will be used by Stobart’s adjacent wood-drying facility.

It will be built within the Mersey Multimodal Gateway project, a 180 hectare logistics hub just west of Liverpool.

Expected to become operational by December 2016, the plant will be among the largest of its type in the UK and will be the largest waste wood plant in the North-west.

It will be built and operated by Danish power plant specialist Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S, and over the expected 20-year lifetime is forecast to:

  • supply renewable electricity equivalent to the needs of more than 35,000 homes each year;
  • create more than 200 construction jobs and 20 full-time jobs once operational; and
  • deliver a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of around 1.3 million tonnes, equivalent to taking nearly 30,000 cars off the road.

Stobart Infrastructure will hold a 40% stake in the plant and the UK Green Investment Bank a 49% interest, with the remaining 11% held by Burmeister & Wain.

UK Green Investment Bank chief executive Shaun Kingsbury said: “This is a great example of how we can build the next generation of energy and waste management infrastructure in a way that is green, cost-effective and highly efficient. This type of innovative infrastructure adds to our domestic electricity generation and reduces our carbon emissions.

“What is particularly important is that these projects are replicable and scalable. The Widnes project has been brought together by the team that supported a similar project in Northern Ireland and I hope we will see many more.”

Business secretary Vince Cable said: “This investment in one of the largest green power plants in the UK will create more than 200 local jobs, cut greenhouse gas emissions and generate enough renewable energy to power 35,000 homes per year.

“The project would not have happened without the Green Investment Bank - it is at the heart of our industrial strategy, improving energy efficiency through innovation and creating sustainable jobs and growth.”

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