MGT Power to build second huge biomass power plant in UK

By Lisa Gibson
Britain-based MGT Power Ltd. ( announced Aug. 10 its plans to build another 295-megawatt biomass power plant in the U.K. It will be the company's second plant and will tie with the first as the largest biomass power plant in the world.

The new proposed plant, with capital costs of about $823 million, will be located at the Port of Tyne in North Tyneside, according to MGT. The Tyne Renewable Energy Plant (Tyne REP) will be built on industrial land on the north bank of the River Tyne and, like MGT's other plant, will have the capacity to power up to 600,000 homes in Northeast England. Subject to planning, the company hopes to begin construction on the second plant in the first quarter of 2011, with a goal of commercial operation in 2014, according to MGT.

Teesport, England, will be the home of the company's first 295-megawatt plant, slated to go on line in late 2012, and recently approved by the British government. It will also be located at a port for easy shipping access and is estimated to cost about $819 million, according to the company. Both plants will run on 2.65 million tons of wood chips annually. Biomass for both plants will be shipped from certified sustainable forestry operations developed by MGT and partners in North and South America and the Baltic Seas, and U.K. sources in the longer term, according to Chris Moore, director of MGT. The wood chips deliver a 95 percent reduction in greenhouse gases and each plant will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.3 million tons annually, according to the company.

The first stage of the Tyne REP planning process is detailed in a scoping document that outlines details of the project and has been circulated to several local and national organizations such as the North Tyneside Council, the Environment Agency and the Department of Energy & Climate Change. The document addresses rationale for the project, the energy and planning policy framework and the technical studies and consultants MGT Power will undertake as part of the project's Environmental Impact Assessment.

The plant will provide hundreds of construction jobs, future permanent on-site jobs and 300 to 400 indirect jobs, according to the company. In addition, it represents an annual investment of $49 million in the local community, according to MGT. Both plants will help meet U.K.'s renewable energy target of 20 percent by 2020, each accounting for about 5.5 percent of the renewable target. Both will run 24 hours per day year round and each will produce the same amount of electricity in one year as a 1,000-megawatt wind farm, according to MGT.