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Discovery Park biomass power plant to go ahead

A £160 million deal to build a biomass power plant at Discovery Park, Sandwich, capable of supplying 50,000 homes in Kent, has been agreed.

The power plant is owned by Danish engineering and contracting company BWSC, who will build the project, and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners who are funding the scheme.

The biomass-fired power plant at Discovery Park was originally thought of by sustainable infrastructure developer Estover Energy Ltd, which will hold a minority interest when the commercial operation begins.

BWSC aim to have the plant completed by summer 2018, and will run and maintain the site on a 20-year contract. It will create around 300 jobs during its construction phase and 25 full-time jobs once operational.

The scheme, which will sit on the north east side of Discovery Park in Sandwich, will provide much of its power back to the estate. It will use virgin wood from the UK, saving about 100,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.

Discovery Park managing director Paul Barber said the plant would make the site self-sufficient for energy and reduce its carbon footprint.

He said: “The signing of this deal is great news for Discovery Park and in agreeing terms for a £160 million investment a vote of confidence in this site’s ongoing success.

“This summer we passed the milestone of 150 companies on site, employing over 2,400 people. For them, this agreement guarantees them future security of energy supplies at a time of great uncertainty in the UK energy market.”

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners senior partner Christina Grumstrup Sørensen said: “Our investment in Kent builds on our good experience with the UK biomass power market which to date includes the Brigg project which was commissioned in January 2016 and the Snetterton and Templeborough projects that are under construction and planned to be commissioned in 2017.

“The Kent project presents an attractive investment opportunity for CIP in a country with a well-established and stable regulatory regime.”

BWSC chief executive Anders Heine Jensen said: “The Kent project is BWSC’s eighth turnkey biomass power plant project in the UK within the last five years, and it underlines our strong position on the UK renewable energy market.

“The project also illustrates the value of the close cooperation between strong financial and industrial players in the energy sector resulting in attractive business opportunities and investments for both parties.”

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