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UK biomass power plant to close

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Energy company RWE nPower has called time on its 100% biomass plant in Tilbury, UK.

The company announced it will stop work at the biomass plant this July while it considers and reviews further options on project feasibility.

The Tilbury facility began life as a coal-fired plant over 30 years ago and was due to close down in 2015 as RWE opted it out of the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive in 2008, which required all combustion facilities with a thermal capacity of 50MW or more to limit emissions.

However, an about turn in 2011 saw units at the facility converted to handle biomass and make Tilbury the ‘biggest biomass plant in the world’.

But a fire damaged a large storage area in 2012 and forced the plant to close for several months. It reopened before the turn of the year but will now be shut down for the foreseeable future.

Roger Miesen, RWE Generation’s chief technical officer, was quoted as saying the decision was ‘not taken lightly’ and was ‘with regret’.

‘Tilbury remains a good site for future power generation,’ he adds. ‘We still believe biomass has a role to play in future power generation and RWE will continue to progress options at strategic sites.’

The Tilbury facility provider 1% of national gird needs in the UK and will shut at the end of October.