Ground breaks on UK biomass plant

Construction has started on a new 44.2MW biomass power plant in Snetterton.

The plant, known as Snetterton Renewable Energy Plant, is being developed by Eco2 and Iceni Energy. Using straw as its feedstock, the plant will have capacity to generate enough electricity to meet the needs of 82,000 homes and the potential to become an electricity connectivity point for Snetterton Heath, where electricity connectivity is currently poor.

Following the launch of the construction phase, building work will get underway which will see up to 250 people employed on the site. Once the plant is built it will provide up to 36 permanent jobs, plus a further 50 jobs in fuel transportation. Contracts are already in place with local farmers, whose surplus straw will help to power the biomass plant for the coming decade, which will bring an £11 million (€14 million) annual investment to the East Anglian agricultural economy.

Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor will run the plant and also own it in partnership with a Danish infrastructure fund managed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, and will oversee the construction process.

The project was originally developed by Iceni Energy who was given the green light to build the plant by Breckland in 2012. Iceni Energy has since joined forces with renewable energy project developer Eco2 to take the project forward to financial close.

'The groundbreaking ceremony officially marks the beginning of the construction of the Snetterton Renewable Energy Plant,' says David Williams, CEO at Eco2. 'It is fantastic to see work commencing, giving local farmers a secured income for their surplus straw, and working in partnership to deliver a sustainable-scale straw-fired biomass plant.'

The biomass plant is expected to be operational by around mid-2017.

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