UK-based project developer Prenergy Ltd has been given consent to build a 350 MW biomass power plant in South Wales. The Port Talbot Renewable Energy Plant will be the largest of its kind in the world, and will account for around 70 per cent of Wales’ 2010 renewable electricity generation target.

The new plant is scheduled to be operational by 2010 and will use circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boiler technology firing sustainably grown wood from the US and Canada.

“This is a groundbreaking step, not only for Port Talbot but for environmentally friendly power generation in the UK as a whole,” said Matthew Carse of Prenergy Power. “Using wood chip from independently certified sustainable forestry, which ensure harvested trees are replanted, means that generation is carbon neutral and sustainable.”

The plant will be built on brownfield land at Port Talbot, South Wales. The deepwater facilities at the Port mean that fuel can easily be brought to the plant by ship, says Prenergy.

The £400 million project is the eighth major renewable energy project to have received consent in the UK this year and forms an important part of the government’s plans for a low carbon economy.

The Port Talbot Renewable Energy Plant will operate as a baseload plant, burning around 2 500 000-3 000 000 tonnes of wood chip fuel per year. It will have an electrical efficiency of 36 per cent and export power to the grid via a new 275 kV underground cable.