Four biomass power plants planned for Scotland

The UK’s Renewable Obligation is firing up green power stations in Scotland.

Power utility Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and port operator Forth Ports have announced plans to construct four 100-MW biomass power plants in Dundee, Leith, Rosyth and Grangemouth.

In June 2008, SSE and Forth Ports formed Forth Energy, a joint venture to develop renewable energy projects around Forth Ports’ sites in Scotland and England. The proposed plants would produce heat and energy to be used at the port sites, as well as exported to the grid for commercial sale.

Under the UK’s Renewables Obligation, dedicated regular biomass plants can earn 1.5 Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROC) per megawatt hour (MWh) of output.

The RO requires licensed electricity suppliers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to source an increasing portion of electricity from renewable sources. The obligation levels for 2008-09 are 9.1% of electricity supplied to customers in England, Wales and Scotland, and 3% of electricity supplied to customers in Northern Ireland.

A ROC is a green certificate issued to an accredited generator for eligible renewable electricity generated within the UK and supplied to customers within the UK by a licensed electricity supplier.

Until March 2009, each ROC represented one MWh of electricity, but from April on, the value of the ROC became dependent on the generation technology type. Dedicated regular biomass generation receives 1.5 ROCs per MWh.

The feedstock at the proposed biomass power plants will be mainly softwood sourced from sustainably-managed forests in the UK and overseas. The approximate amount needed to fuel the plants was not available at press time.

The company plans to undertake consultations on the plant proposals and seek consent to construct them next year. SSE currently owns an 80MW biomass power plant at Slough in Berkshire, England.

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