The European Commission has approved UK government support to convert the Lynemouth coal-fired power plant to biomass. The Commssion found that the project will “further EU environmental and energy goals without unduly distorting competition.”
“This is fantastic news for the Lynemouth project and the stations 134 strong workforce. As a full coal-to-biomass conversion, this project is a win-win for all involved,” said Vaun Campbell, Managing Director of Lynemouth Power Ltd. “The northeast region and the local economy also benefits as supply chains and other infrastructure are created.”
The UK government first notified the European Commission of its plans to subsidise the conversion in December last year. The subsidies will take the form of a premium paid on top of the market price of the electricity generated – a co-called Contract for Difference. State aid will be offered until 2027.
Following conversion, the plant will be able generate 420 MW of electricity running exclusively on wood pellets. It will require about 1.5 million tpy of wood pellets that will mainly be sourced from the US, Canada and Europe.
“It has been a long journey with delays to the decision impacting the project but we can finally now move towards hopefully making an investment decision,” concluded Campbell.
Lynemouth power plant is located in Northumberland in the northeast of England and has been generating electricity from coal since 1972. Originally built, owned and operated by Alcan to provide reliable power to the adjacent aluminium smelter, it was purchased by 2012 by German utility, RWE, which formed a new company, Lynemouth Power Ltd, to take over operation of the plant.
The conversion project is one of several projects selected under the Final Investment Decision Enabling for Renewables (FIDeR), a UK government support measure for renewable energy projects. It joins five FIDeR projects to develop offshore wind farms and the Teeside combined heat and power biomass plant.
Edited by Jonathan Rowland.