The first ‘low-carbon energy’ has been generated from a waste wood biomass facility owned and operated by the Bioenergy Infrastructure Group (BIG) at Peel Environmental’s Protos site in Ince, Cheshire.
BIG, a specialist investor and operator in the biomass and waste-to-energy sector, and Peel Environmental, a major UK infrastructure developer, this week described the power generation as a “major milestone” for the 21.5mw biomass facility .
The facility is the first active site at Protos, Peel’s £700 million flagship energy hub which is located within a newly created Energy Innovation District. According to Peel, the district, located between the cities of Chester, Liverpool and Manchester, consists of an existing cluster of energy related industry, including large scale energy assets.
Located near Ellesmere Port between Manchester and Liverpool, the site is expected to deliver over 3,000 jobs once operational and a £350 million boost to the economy per annum, the companies claimed.
BIG’s second largest asset by production capacity within its wider portfolio of bioenergy facilities across the UK, the Ince Bio Power facility uses waste wood as its feedstock. The company said that it will “generate low carbon energy which will go on to power thousands of homes and deliver CO2 savings. These CO2 savings will add up to around 65,000 tonnes per annum, the equivalent of taking 40,000 cars off the road”.
Work began on the £100 million biomass project in 2015 by developer CoGen (see letsrecycle.com story). The biomass plant was fully financed in an all-equity transaction by BIG – a group comprising Aurium Capital Markets, Foresight Group, Helios Energy Investments and Infracapital.
Commenting on the power generation, Neil Bennett, commercial director at Bioenergy Infrastructure Group, said: “As one of BIG’s first investments in the bioenergy sector, this major achievement at Ince Bio Power, and within the Protos hub, is an important step in delivering our wider strategy of generating more than 200MW of low carbon power from waste – sustainably supporting the UK’s increasingly electricity-intensive economy, regional economic development and local job creation.”
Protos – consented for energy production, general manufacturing and distribution uses – is Peel Land and Property’s flagship energy site. Jane Gaston, development director at Protos, said: “Our first occupier generating low-carbon energy from site is a major milestone for Protos. It symbolises investor confidence in the energy destination we’re creating in the North West and follows our neighbouring wind farm coming on stream last year.
“Ince Bio Power is an important step in delivering our wider strategy of generating more than 200MW of low carbon power from waste”Neil Bennett
“We continue to invest in utilities infrastructure that will significantly increase our ability to import and export power from Protos, and are looking forward to securing further energy-related tenants on the surrounding consented plots.”
Philip Cox, chief executive of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership – a private-sector led organisation representing businesses in Cheshire and Warrington, said: “BIG’s new biomass facility is a very welcome low carbon addition to our energy mix, ensuring that we are providing secure, affordable and clean energy, which is vital to our continued economic growth.”
Peel Environmental brought forward and consented the Protos development, previously known as the Ince Resource Recovery Park. The 54ha (134 acres) development site has full outline planning consent and part detailed planning consent for general manufacturing and distribution uses, as well as a biomass facility and an energy from waste facility.
Plans also exist for a traditional energy from waste plant at Protos to be developed by Biffa and Covanta. The EfW plant would have a capacity of 350,000 tonnes of waste per annum potentially generating 39MW or more if the steam amount is set higher, if waste is needed to be processed at a higher rate.