Tilbury power plant operators RWE npower say it is too early to determine the full extent of fire damage at the premises but the emergency shutdown has at a stroke removed 10 per cent of the UK’s renewable energy capacity.

Fire investigators believe a spark from machinery triggered the huge fire that swept through Europe’s biggest biomass power plant yesterday.

Firefighters spent more than 15 hours tackling the fire at the Tilbury biomass power plant on the banks of the River Thames in Essex.

The damage is understood to be widespread and fire chiefs believe it will take a further two days to remove the embers of the wood pellets that fuelled the blaze.

A spokesman for RWE npower said last night: “We will investigate the cause of the incident and the extent of the damage to the station but our priority in the meantime is to work with the emergency services on site.”

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