German biomass energy giant STEAG New Energies has been awarded planning permission to build its first biomass CHP plant in the UK.

Kent county council has granted permission for the company’s UK subsidiary, STEAG New Energies UK, to build a CHP at Ridham Dock in Kent which will burn approximately 160 000 tonnes of waste wood a year.

The Waste Incineration Directive-compliant facility will produce 25 MW of power and up to 8-10 MW of heat. The waste wood is expected to come from municipal waste (15-20 per cent), commerce and industry (25-30 per cent) and construction and demolition (40-60 per cent).

STEAG says that the wood will be “regionally sourced”, claiming that 100 000 tonnes-a-year of waste wood is produced in Kent alone and that finding end markets for this material is an “issue” in South East England.

At present, the UK’s largest waste-wood burning biomass plants are located much further north, on Teesside and in Lockerbie, Scotland.

The heat and power produced at the Ridham Dock facility will be used to power the CHP plant and adjacent energy-intensive industries, with the remainder transferred to the National Grid.

A planning application was submitted to the council in July 2010 on behalf of STEAG by environmental consultancy SLR Consulting, based near Oxford, and was approved in June this year.

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