The project in Middlesbrough will have a capacity of 299 MW combined heat and power (CHP), enough to power at least 600,000 UK households.

Abengoa and Toshiba will construct the £424m power plant, which will use wood pellets from sustainable forest resources in the US and Europe.

The project developers say the fuel source will be in compliance with the UK’s incentives for renewable energy.

The technology currently helps provide around 7% of the UK’s electricity by integrating heat and electricity production into a single process.

The Abengoa/Toshiba project will help reduce the UK’s carbon footprint using the CHP technology, with Abengoa currently working on a further 215MW biomass plant in Belgium.

According to UK Government estimates to the European Commission, the Teesside CHP plant will save an estimated 32m tonnes of CO2 over its 30-year lifetime.

CHP potential

CHP technology saved the UK £250m in fuel costs in 2014, according to figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Industry body the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) said last month there was great potential for future savings from the technology. ADE director Tim Rotheray said: “There are hundreds more commercial and industrial sites that could benefit from generating their own heat and power locally by putting the right policy framework in place.”

The Green Investment Bank recently helped secure £30m in funding for a new community-scale CHP biomass plant in Sheffield. The project will provide enough power to the local area to heat 6,700 properties.

Biomass technology has come in for some criticism for its label as a ‘green’ technology which still releases carbon emissions. However the UK’s largest power plant Drax has moved to convert its coal burning facilities to biomass, with the company arguing reliable biomass facilities were needed to balance the UK’s supply of wind and solar power.

Matt Field

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