“Bitter disappointment” as biomass power plant folds

Plans for a biomass power plant in Northumberland have folded, spelling the end of hundreds of jobs in the North East and £300m of investment. Renewable energy developer RES blamed […]

Register now!

By Vicky Ellis

Plans for a biomass power plant in Northumberland have folded, spelling the end of hundreds of jobs in the North East and £300m of investment.

Renewable energy developer RES blamed the 100MW Port of Blyth project’s closure on the Government’s “inconsistent support” for dedicated biomass in the past two years.

It said this meant a key business partner withdrew from the project in late 2013 partly because of this, as well as changes to funding under the Government’s Electricity Market Reforms.

Gordon MacDougall, UK Chief Operating Officer for RES described it as “bitterly disappointing”.

He said yesterday: “The gradual erosion of support for dedicated biomass leaves us with no other option… [the plant] currently faces insurmountable investment barriers due to uncertain Government energy policy.”

Subsidy for dedicated biomass is being capped under the Renewables Obligation (RO).

RES said this cap is a “radical downsizing” in ambition for the technology from a target of 4,000 megawatts (MW) in 2011 to a cap of 400MW in 2013.

The Back Biomass campaign said it was a “blow” to delivering the affordable, low carbon, baseload generation that this country so desperately needs.

A DECC spokesperson said they were “disappointed” the project won’t go forward but added: “This is a commercial decision. The UK is one of the world’s most attractive places to invest in renewable energy, ranking second in the world for biomass.”

Two years ago Drax also canned plans for a biomass plant project in North Yorkshire because it would be too expensive.