Proposals submitted for new Teesside biomass plant

Artist's impression of the Stockton biomass plant.

Renewable energy firm Port Clarence Energy Ltd has submitted planning proposals to Stockton Borough Council to build and operate a new renewable energy plant in Port Clarence, Stockton.

The company, brought into being specifically for this project, has been formed through a partnership between Eco2 Limited, who specialise in ‘initiating, developing, financing and operating’ renewable energy projects throughout the UK and Europe, and Temporis Capital LLP who specialise in the building and operating of renewable energy projects.

Plant details

Port Clarence Energy Ltd is proposing to build a new biomass plant on industrial land at Clarence Works on the north bank of the River Tees, close to the well-known Transporter Bridge.

The biomass facilty would burn approximately 325,000 tonnes of wood waste per annum to produce around 45 megawatts (MW) of energy.

The fuel stock will reportedly come from a variety of sources including ‘construction and demolition sites, civic amenity sites and packaging’, with the majority sourced from areas to the south of the site.

According to the proposals, the wood fuel will be delivered on curtain-sided vehicles capable of delivering around 20 tonnes each. It is anticipated that there will be approximately 60 fuel deliveries per day, with access to the site via Huntsman Drive in Port Clarence.

The £160 million plant will be localted in three main buildings comprising: a turbine hall and boiler house; a fuel reception area; and a fuel storage barn.

It is thought that if approved, an average of 200 people will be employed on-site during  the 30-month construction period, rising to 350 during the ‘peak period’ when the mechanical and electrical installation activities take place.

Approximately 50 local full time jobs will be created in the operation of the plant and fuel supply.

 ‘100 per cent support for the project’

According to the company, the development proposals received ‘100 per cent support’ from the public at consultation events spanning two days in Billingham and Port Clarence.

Andrew Toft, Director of Projects at Eco2 Limited, said: “This is an exciting time for Teesside to increase its contribution to the production of renewable energy and we are delighted to be able to progress the long-held ambition to bring this technology to Port Clarence.

“We have spent considerable time refining the design proposals to ensure the plant will not impact negatively on the area, while maximising the opportunities it could generate – both in terms of employment and skills, and through bringing an empty site back into use.”

The plans have been formally validated by Stockton-on-Tees Council’s planning department and are available to view online using reference number 14/1106/EIS.

Biomass in the UK

Plant biomass combustion accounted for 18.3 per cent of the UK’s renewable energy in 2012, and DECC’s ‘Renewables Roadmap’ estimates that by 2020, biomass could potentially provide between 26 and 42 per cent of renewable energy in the UK.

Indeed, last month, renewable energy company Navitas Environmental was granted an environmental permit to operate a new 86,000-tonne biomass facility in St Albans.

However, there are worries the government could be too dependent on biomass to reach its statutory target of generating 15 per cent of the UK’s energy from renewable sources by 2020. Indeed, a 2012 report from the RSPB, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace warned that producing power through certain types of biomass combustion can be ‘dirtier than coal’, and there are other concerns that burning recyclable waste - such as wood packaging - could waste valuable resources.

Read more about the proposals for the biomass plant in Stockton, or find out more about the effects of biomass.