MGT biomass power plant will supply power to UK grocer

By Lisa Gibson
Posted October 15, 2009, at 1:41 p.m. CST

A planned 295 megawatt biomass power plant in Teesport, England, will supply 100 percent of the power required for grocer Tesco's local import warehouse.

MGT Power will own and operate the Tees Renewable Energy Plant, set for construction beginning in the first quarter of next year. The 500 million pound ($815 million) plant will run on about 2.4 million metric tons of woodchips per year and operate 24 hours a day. The chips will be sourced from certified sustainable forestry operations in North and South America and the Baltic Seas, according to MGT.

The 50 million pound, 1.2 square-foot Tesco warehouse opened in August and is adjacent to the site of the plant. Earlier this year, the company was awarded the Carbon Trust Standard and was named the greenest supermarket in the U.K., according to MGT. Tesco has also announced plans to build its first zero-carbon store in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, later this year. The grocer uses a carbon labeling system on its in-store products to inform its customers of the products' environmental impacts.

MGT will confirm a contractor for the plant in the next few weeks, according to Paul Taylor, media representative for the company, and is in discussions with financial institutions to secure funding. MGT also is developing plans for another 295 MW plant at the Port of Tyne in North Tyneside. The Tyne Renewable Energy Plant also will consume wood chips, run 24 hours per day and cost about $823 million, according to the company.

MGT is currently developing environmental impact assessments for the Tyne Renewable Energy Plant and hopes to submit a planning application yet this year or next, according to Taylor. The company hopes to begin construction on the plant in 2011, anticipating that it will be commercially operational in 2014. Each of the two plants will account for about 5.5 percent of the U.K.'s renewable energy target of 20 percent by 2020, according to MGT.

"We look forward to working with and developing a relationship with Tesco Teesport," said Chris Moore, director of MGT, in a statement. "Supplying power to other parts of the Teesport estate is a logical move for ourselves and we are seeking further agreements with other operating facilities in the port and the immediate area."