North East Labour MEPs welcomed the European Commission's decision today to give the go-ahead to government support for the construction of a new biomass plant at Teesport.
The UK government announced late last year that the planned development from biomass developer MGT had qualified for so-called Final Investment Decision (FID) under the new contract for difference (CfD) scheme. Under the scheme, the project would receive guaranteed prices for the low carbon power it generates. The plant will save approximately 32 million tons of CO2 over its 30-year lifetime and supply about 2.1 TWh, enough to supply 600,000 homes. It is expected to be in operation by 2018.
MGT estimates that this plant will create 750 construction jobs and 150 permanent jobs on Teesside.
Jude Kirton Darling welcomed the news, "It is great news for Teesside that the Commission have signed off the plans for Teesside. It means that the project can be rolled out and start to bring real benefits in terms of investment, low carbon energy and jobs, benefitting not just our region and industrial base but the whole country.
Our main priority now, as Labour MEPs, is to now ensure this becomes a good news story in terms of local employment. Therefore, we call on those involved in building and running the combined heat and power biomass plant to advertise the jobs available locally and invest in the next generation through good apprenticeships. We want to see investment into the North East benefitting our local economy to the maximum.
Furthermore, the announcement today confirms the region as a clean tech hub, coming on the same day that comes as plans are unveiled in Westminster to establish Teesside as a centre for Carbon Capture Technologies that could capture emissions from the region's industrial base".
Significantly, the facility will provide baseload power, providing low carbon back up for intermittent renewable energy sources. Like other biomass developers, MGT has provided assurances it will power the plant using sustainably sourced biomass, while the government has insisted biomass plants will only be able to qualify for subsidies if they meet sustainability standards.