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Power brings jobs; Work for hundreds at pounds 400 biomass plant EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: By JEZ DAVISON

TEESSIDE will become home to one of the world's largest sustainable biomass plants after a MGT Power announced a pounds 400m investment at Teesport.

Representing pounds 30m per year to the local economy, the Tees Renewable Energy Plant (REP) will create around 600 construction jobs and 150 on-site roles, as well as 300-400 jobs each year for the local supply chain.

Located at Teesport, it will produce enough green electricity to power 600,000 homes and save around 1.2m tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere every year.

Construction work will start next year and the plant is expected to be operational by 2012.

Renewable specialist MGT hailed Teesside's skills labour as a major factor in bringing the project to the area.

Director Chris Moore, said: "The engineering skills on Teesside are first class.

"Companies here have demonstrated their ability to construct and operate large-scale machinery.

"We also have an excellent partner in PD Ports, which has been very entrepreneurial in grabbing the opportunity with both hands and accelerating the process."

He also said the energy would be generated via "sustainable forestry operations" and would not involve large-scale destruction of rain-forests.

"Forestry as a source of energy is extremely carbon-efficient," he said. "Unlike first-generation bio-fuel feedstocks, sustainable forestry operations can be established on disused and marginal land - known as Short Rotation Forestry.

"MGT Power is currently developing Short Rotation Forestry in the UK and globally, which will supply Tees REP with 2.4m tonnes of sustainable biomass each year."

The plant will play a major role in helping the UK meet ambitious national and EU renewable energy targets. Brussels wants the UK to produce from renewable sources 15% of total energy generated by 2020.

Mr Moore said: "The next wave of renewable targets are very aggressive and wind power alone will not be enough to meet them. If it were built today, only 10 Tees REPs would be needed to fulfil all of this year's Renewables Obligations target in the UK."

As well as improving Britain's carbon footprint, the plant will create a market for locally produced biomass wood. Until this market develops, the majority of the raw materials will be imported to Teesside via the port.

The 300MW plant will be based on land adjacent to the main southern dock at Teesport, on the south bank of the River Tees. In addition to its deep-water facilities, the plant is well served by arterial transport routes such as the A66, A19, A1 and the main East coast rail network.

It is also close to the national Grid electricity transmission system and MGT Teesside - the developer for the project and wholly-owned subsidiary of MGT Power Ltd - has a transmission contract with the National Grid Company to export power from the site from 2012.

The project will comprise a single, circulating fluidised bed boiler that will burn wood chip to generate steam at 565 degrees centigrade. The steam will then be used to turn a steam turbine, which will in turn rotate a generator to produce electricity.

Once operational, the plant will save up to 52m tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime - around 25 years - and contribute more than 3% of the UK's mandatory Kyoto emissions reductions.

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GREEN POWER: The planned new biomass plant at Teesport will provide hundreds of jobs, both in the construction phase and when it is fully operational
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 28, 2008
Words:569
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