MGT Power Limited has received consent from the British Government to proceed with the development of a 295 MW biomass electricity plant, Tees Renewable Energy. The plant will use 2.65 million tons of wood chips per year, which it will source from the Southeast United States and other locations.

The £500m ($815m USD) Tees Renewable Energy Plant, located at Teesport in northeast England and being developed by British company MGT Power Limited, has received consent from the British Government under Section 36 of the Electricity Act.

With a capacity of 295MW, the plant will generate enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately 600,000 homes and will be one of the largest-ever biomass plants to be built in the world, and one of the largest of all renewable energy projects. The Tees Renewable Energy Plant will begin commercial operation in late 2012.

Chris Moore, Director of MGT Power, said: “The Government’s consent is welcome news as we are at an advanced stage with the forestry establishment for fuel sourcing and power plant procurement. We can now appoint our banks, conclude the financing and reach agreement with our preferred technology bidders. We are moving towards an early construction start with a high degree of confidence.”

He added: “Other similarly sized biomass plants are proposed in other parts of the country, but our Teesport project is currently two years ahead of the pack and likely to be one of the first to be operational. It comes at a time when replacement UK energy generation capacity is urgently needed. We will continue to work closely with the Redcar & Cleveland Council as well as PD Ports, the owners of Teesport, Renew Tees Valley and the local Trade Unions to complete the project. Their support and commitment to the project over the last 2 years has been invaluable. ” 

The Tees Renewable Energy Plant will help to meet the UK’s environmental and renewable energy targets and add to the country’s growing need to diversify its power generation. It will create 600 jobs during the three year construction period, 150 permanent jobs during the station’s lifetime, and once operating will contribute about £30m ($49m USD) per annum into the North East’s economy, supporting a further 300-400 jobs indirectly. It will save 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 per year and will account for 5.5% of the UK’s renewable electricity target.

David Kidney MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change said: “The Tees Renewable Energy Plant brings a range of economic and environmental benefits, not least creating new jobs at Teesport, and the use of clean technology will help reduce carbon emissions. Biomass generation, using sustainable sources, is starting to make a significant contribution to the UK’s energy market and will help us reach our renewable targets.”

The biomass feedstock for the Tees Renewable Energy Plant will be sourced from certified sustainable forestry projects developed by the MGT team and partners in North and South America and the Baltic States. These projects will provide clean burning woodchips, which deliver 95% greenhouse gas savings in comparison to coal or natural gas through the life cycle and will not use high quality land suitable for food crops. 

The plant will use around 2.4m tonnes (2.65m short tons) of woodchips per annum and will operate 24 hours a day, all year round at baseload. This means the Tees Renewable Energy Plant will produce the same amount of renewable electricity over a year as a 1,000MW wind farm.