RWE to open UK's biggest biomass plant this month

LONDON Thu Jan 5, 2012 7:03am EST

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LONDON (Reuters) - RWE npower will start commercial operations at Britain's biggest biomass power station at Tilbury in Essex at the end of January, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The third of three units at the 750-megawatt (MW) power plant will start producing power next week and the whole plant will be commercially operational by the end of January.

"Tilbury has two of its three units operating and the third will be commissioned next week," she said.

The new power station will burn wood pellets to produce electricity and is located on the site of the utility's ageing Tilbury coal-fired power plant, which will shut down by the end of 2015.

The plant received its first delivery of 46,000 tonnes of wood pellets in November from Georgia in the United States, where RWE Innogy owns a biomass pellet factory.

Most of the wood pellets used at Tilbury will originate from North America, while some supply will stem from continental Europe, RWE npower said.

The utility is also on track to open a 2,000 MW gas-fired power plant at Pembroke in the third quarter of this year, with two out of five units undergoing commissioning as of last week, the spokeswoman said.

RWE npower started another large gas plant in late 2010, the four-unit Staythorpe plant with a capacity of 1,650 MW.

(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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