Utility Invests in Biomass Co-generation

Renewable energy doesn’t have to be all or nothing. The technologies can be easily blended into traditional electric generation – particularly with the co-firing of biomass. The UK-based Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) is the latest to make a stout financial commitment in this direction.

SSE decided to invest around GBP 20 million (USD 38 million) in the development of additional facilities to co-fire fuels from renewable sources, in order to displace fossil fuels, at its Ferrybridge and Fiddler’s Ferry power stations. The investment will result in the installation, by the end of the next financial year, of direct injection burners at both stations. The new burners will allow coal and biomass to be co-fired more efficiently, and therefore increase the amount of biomass that can be used to generate electricity at the power stations. They will also enable SSE to generate electricity from a more diverse range of biofuels. Not only will the plants burn cleaner but they’ll create a marketable clean energy product which can bring in extra revenue. In the first six months of 2004/05, the stations’ output of electricity qualifying for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) was over 300 GWh. The installation of the new burners is expected to give the stations the ability to generate around 1,500 GWh per year of ROC-qualifying output. “When we acquired the power stations in July, we said we would examine all opportunities for improving the way they operate and for reducing the level of emissions from them,” said Ian Marchant, Chief Executive of SSE. “This investment to enhance their ability to generate electricity from biomass is a very exciting and positive step forward.”
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