Second energy facility could emerge triumphant from planning process. Paul Unger reports
Four years after the Planning Act 2008 was introduced to speed up key national infrastructure projects only one application has made it through the process — an energy-from-waste facility in Bedfordshire — but a second could follow in the coming months in Northumberland.
Renewable Energy Systems began talking to Port of Blyth about a biomass project on its shores in autumn 2009. The pair reached an agreement in early 2010 to build a £250m 100MW biomass plant on a 12 acre site on Battleship Wharf. A two-year consultation process then began.
An application was made in March to the Infrastructure Planning Commission.
Chris Lawson, development project manager at Renewable Energy Systems, explains: “We needed a year’s data about birds roosting, for instance, to present in our application to the commission.”
Of the 500,000 to 800,000 tonnes of wood chip and wood pellets burnt each year, 20% are expected to arrive by road and 80% by sea. In addition to 200 jobs and income from a long lease and handling charges, there will be haulage trade and warehouse demand created on shore.
The commission is expected to take six months to examine the application and a decision from energy secretary Ed Davey is expected by the middle of next year. The facility would then take three years to build.