Thursday, 10 September 2009

First Minister to officially open Wales’ first commercial biomass plant

First Minister, Rhodri Morgan has performed the official opening ceremony for Wales’ first commercial scale biomass plant, in Port Talbot.

The £33 million Western Wood Energy Plant, which is now fully operational generates enough electricity to power the equivalent of 31,000 homes a year.

Developed by Cardiff-based international renewable energy company, Eco2 Ltd, in partnership with the Port Talbot located Western Log Group, the project created 200 local construction jobs during its two-year build phase. The Plant now directly employs 20 permanent staff responsible for operating the plant as well as sustaining many jobs in the local timber and engineering businesses through fuel supply and maintenance activities.

The 14 Megawatt plant uses only wood as the fuel, the majority of which is sourced locally from Welsh forests and byprodcuts from timber industries. A significant proportion of the 160,000 tonnes used annually is supplied by the Forestry Commission, the forestry arm of the Welsh Assembly Government.

The plant is owned by a consortium comprising Good Energies (UK) LLP and the Western Log Group operating as Western Bioenergy Ltd.

First Minister, Rhodri Morgan said,

"This is a flagship project for Wales. It has been recognised as one of the best performing biomass sites in the UK. It provides a sustainable benefit to the local economy, not only through the people it employs on-site, but also through its commitment to using wood sourced from Wales to power it.

"The Assembly Government is actively working on ways to increase use of bio-energy and the sustainable supply of biomass for energy generation. This plant demonstrates just how serious Wales is about addressing the issues associated with climate change through sustainable technology that is truly world beating in terms of its innovation and efficiency."

The plant's combustion process will result in no net increase of carbon dioxide as trees draw this greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. The project will also avoid 47,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions otherwise produced by an equivalent fossil fuel power station.

The power station took honours in the category of Sustainability at the LABC Building Excellence Awards earlier this year.


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