Following the release of the new Renewable Obligation Certificate banding levels, UK power companies began evaluating their plans and making determinations about whether to co-fire coal with biomass, convert coal plants to biomass or develop dedicated biomass power plants. Based on the amount of activity, demand for industrial wood pellets will continue to grow.
In September alone, the following power projects (all of which will source wood pellets as feedstock) were announced or updated.
RWE npower, the British unit of German utility RWE, has submitted license permit applications to allow its Tilbury plant, in Essex east of London, to operate through 2023. Without licensing, the plant is expected to run through its allotted hours (under the EU's Large Combustion Plant Directive) by the end of 2013. RWE expects the licensing process to take up to 9 months.
Drax Group Plc. is investing $1 billion through 2017 to convert its largest coal-fired plant in western Europe to a woody biomass facility. It will upgrade its six boilers in its Selby, England plant to accept wood pellets. The conversion is expected to be completed by 2014. Drax Group Plc. may still be considering moving forward with its proposed $968 million 290-MW biomass plant in Immingham.
Real Ventures Ltd. received full planning consent for a £130 million biomass plant in Immingham that expects to be operational in 2015. It is expected to have capacity of up 49.5 MW and built upon a three-hectare brownfield site owned by Associated British Ports called The Reality Energy Centre.
Centrica Plc. has announced plans to build a 137-MW biomass plant in Scawby Brook, England. They also intend to build new port facilities, a railway unloading facility and biomass storage facilities on the site. They plan to submit a finalized planning permission application by the end of this year.
Helius Energy, a London-based company, is proposing two 100-MW biomass power plants. In September, it entered into a £1 million unsecured loan for its proposed 100-megawatt Avonmouth biomass power plant in Port of Bristol, England. They are also working with banks and other equity partners for additional funding for the £300 million project. Helius is also in the process of completing its final application for a 100-MW facility in Southampton, England, which it intends to submit by the end of 2012.
UK planning authority, the UK Department for Communities and Local Government’s Planning Inspectorate, is beginning a 5-month inquiry into Renewable Energy Systems Ltd.’s proposed 100-MW biomass power station located at the Port of Blyth, England. The formal inquiry will investigate such factors as access, design, emissions, landscape, visual impact, transportation and sustainability.
[...] of the release of new renewable obligation certificate banding levels by the UK government, and announcements by UK power companies about planned conversions from coal to wood pellets, industrial wood pellet project announcements [...]