LONDON (Reuters) - RWE npower will start firing Britain’s largest dedicated biomass plant at Tilbury in Essex in the next few days and full commercial operations are expected by the end of the year, a spokeswoman said on Friday.
The 750 megawatt (MW) power plant will burn wood pellets to produce electricity and is located on the site of the utility’s aging Tilbury coal-fired power plant, which will shut down by the end of 2015.
“We are expecting commissioning in the next few days and commercial operations by the end of the year,” the spokeswoman said.
The plant received its first delivery of 46,000 tonnes of wood pellets earlier this week 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, the spokeswoman said.
RWE npower’s 1,100-MW Tilbury coal-fired plant will have to shut down at the end of 2015 at the latest to comply with an EU directive which imposes maximum greenhouse gas emissions on power plants.
Plants which are not fitted with emissions-reducing technology and emit more than the required limit by the end of 2015 will have to shut down.
Britain’s energy ministry last month proposed to increase subsidies for co-firing biomass and coal in power plants, making it more profitable for UK developers such as Drax to proceed with planned co-firing biomass projects.
Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by Jason Neely