As Ed Davey, U.K. Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, spoke to the Environment Council in Brussels, saying: “We call for urgent action on reaching an ambitious 2030 energy and climate change agreement, to spur on investment in green, reliable energy,” at home in Britain the backers of a flagship biomass energy project announced that it would be economically unfeasible to continue development. What happened?

Biomass with CHP

In contrast with dedicated power only biomass plants, biomass-fired combined heat and power installations are continuing to attract investment in the UK, given that they still qualify for significant government support.

A number of these projects have made advances over the previous few months. For instance, RWE Innogy UK (formerly RWE npower renewables), is in the final stages of commissioning its Markinch Biomass CHP plant in Fife, Scotland. This 65 MW plant will supply up to 120 tonnes of industrial steam per hour to paper manufacturer Tullis Russell. RWE Innogy is investing some £200 million (US$300 million) in the development, which was built by Metso and Jacobs.

In October 2013 Estover Energy revealed that planning consent has been granted by Dover District Council for its proposal to develop a £65 million (US$100 million) biomass-fired CHP in the South East of England at Sandwich, in Kent. Generating 11-15 MWe and 8-12 MWth, the plant will use locally sourced low-grade wood as fuel.

Construction is forecast to begin in spring 2014 at the Discovery Park science and technology park.

And in the July, the Helius Energy-developed CoRDe biomass energy plant in Rothes, Speyside, Scotland began operations, using by-products from nearby malt whisky distilleries to produce renewable energy and an animal feed protein supplement, Pot Ale Syrup. Construction began in 2011 on the 8.32 MWe and 66.5 t/h pot ale evaporator plan. The total development and construction costs of the project were £60.5 million.

Furthermore, Kedco plc, is developing the 12 MW Enfield Biomass CHP project in north London.

The Enfield Project has full Planning and Environmental Permission for the conversion of 60,000 tonnes of waste timber per annum into up to 12 MW of electricity and heat.

According to the last project update from the company, MWH Global Inc has been chosen as preferred construction contractor while Statkraft Markets is apparently cued up for the purchase of all the electricity generated by the plant.