New biomass plant will bring 240 jobs

Windmill Industrial Estate at Cramlington-new biomass fuel plant.'REF 0901158024
Windmill Industrial Estate at Cramlington-new biomass fuel plant.'REF 0901158024

More jobs look set to be brought to Cramlington after a biomass developer announced bigger plans for their proposed site.

Estover Energy was granted planning approval last year to develop a Biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant at the Windmill Industrial Estate, which will use low-grade wood from the north east to provide renewable steam and electricity to the industrial complex, as well as generating green electricity for the National Grid.

And now the firm has announced it is increasing its investment in the scheme from £80m to £125m, which will add a further 100 jobs onto those announced last year.

The plant itself will create up to 30 permanent jobs on site and a further 20 jobs in the forestry and transport supply chain. Estover Energy director Max Aitken said: “We managed to get a bigger grid connection so we are making the plant bigger.

“The building size will remain the same, and planning permission won’t change.

“We will be able to increase the investment, at the time we said £80m and now it will be £125m.

“We are very pleased to be able to invest in the area and support local businesses.”

When built, the plant will supply low carbon heating and power into nearby Aesica’s factory which manufacturers active pharmaceutical ingredients for key drugs products.

The plant will produce 27MWe of electricity and will save more than 66,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent each year.

Mr Aitken added: “We use low grade wood and we burn it to create and provide electricity and heat to the national grid and to the local businesses.

“Biomass has been done in Europe for many decades and it is pretty new in England.

“It is low carbon and it is substainable so it is a popular choice and everyone likes it.”

The London and Edinburgh-based company is now in financing and hope to start construction in March.

It is expected to take three years to build the CHP Plant.