Construction of a 350,000 tonne capacity gasification plant in Tees Valley might not resume until November 2016, trade union GMB has warned.
Work on Air Products’ TV2 plant was halted earlier this month following delays to the commissioning process at the adjacent TV1 site.
The two plants are intended to convert refuse-derived fuel into synthetic gas using plasma gasification technology, designed by Canada-based specialist AlterNRG.
Air Products claims it is looking to ‘leverage the learnings’ from the TV1 plant, which it says will eliminate the level of rework required when building both facilities in parallel.
The plant, which like TV1 is to be sourced by Impetus Waste Management, is contracted to provide power on behalf of the government’s Energy for Growth programme over a 20-year fixed period.
Speaking to letsrecycle.com today, a spokesman for GMB said that while the project has been an employment boost for the North East, he described the latest developments as “unwelcome”.
On Friday, the union announced that its members had voted to accept severance terms for job losses on the suspended TV2 site – which is understood to have reached ‘75%’ completion.
The decision was made at a mass meeting in Middlesbrough attended by 500 workers where GMB officers put details of the offer covering notice and consultation period. Around 700 workers have been affected by the suspension in total.
Michael Blench, GMB regional officer, said: “This was a well conducted meeting to put to members the outcome of talks with Air Products covering terms for severance following the suspension of work at TV2. The vote to accept the offer was almost unanimous.
“The news last week was very bad and most unwelcome. This new deal will tide over till Christmas these members and their families.”
“We are still in talks with Air Products. We now know that until the TV1 energy from waste project works properly there are little prospects of work on TV2 being restarted. I consider that we are looking at a delay of between six and 12 months.”
When contacted by letsrecycle.com, Air Products was not available for comment.