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Port of Blyth welcomes new bioenergy plant

A renewable energy power station worth £250 million (€304 million) will be built in the Port of Blyth after planning permission was granted.

The renewable energy developer RES submitted its planning application in March 2012 and the Planning Inspectorate confirmed formal acceptance on 11th April 2012. The examination and consultation period can take up to nine months before a decision is made on the development.

The power station will be built on a brownfield site and involves renovating open storage land at Battleship Wharf, turning the current building into a bioenergy plant.

Rather than using coal or gas for power generation, biomass such as woodchips, pellets or briquettes will be used to generate up to 750GWh of renewable electricity, powering about 170,000 residences.

Most of the wood fuel is to come from managed forests and byproducts of timber, being delivered to the site via ship using existing facilities.

Martin Lawlor, CEO of the Port of Blyth, says: ‘There is a real sense of continuity here – we can trace the use of the estuary as a port right back to Norman times. The natural deep water harbour is what attracted people to settle here in the first place and over time we have  improved the port and developed a skills base which most recently has been based on heavy engineering and traditional energy generation such as coal. Renewable energy generation is a prime example of the sort of business we need to encourage in order to replace declining industry sectors, create jobs and secure a long term future for the communities that rely on the port for employment.’

The new facility will employ about 150 people during construction, which is expected to take about two years, and then 50 people permanently once the project is completed.