RWE npower has decided to stop work on the development of its biomass-fuelled power plant at Tilbury power station while project feasibility is re-assessed.

RWE npower’s owner, German utility RWE Generation SE, has decided to stop work on the development of its biomass-fuelled power plant at Tilbury power station while project feasibility is re-assessed.

In 2008, the decision was made to opt-out the then coal-fired power station, on the banks of the River Thames in Essex, in the UK, from the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD). As a result the plant would have to shut after 20 000 hours of operation or by the end of 2015.

In 2010, RWE decided to use these remaining hours of operation to trial the plant as the largest biomass power station in the world. With an electrical output of 750 MW the station was converted to run on 100% sustainably-sourced biomass in the form of wood pellets. The trial, says RWE, under existing environmental legislation, has been a success both commercially and technically.

During 2012, applications were made for work to bring the Tilbury site up to new plant standards and create a dedicated biomass power station that would be operational for the long-term. However, on 3 July RWE decided to halt progress on this project ‘while feasibility options are assessed and reviewed’.

Roger Miesen, RWE Generation’s chief technical officer said, "It is with regret that we are announcing the decision to halt the Tilbury Biomass project.This decision has not been taken lightly. Tilbury remains a good site for future power generation. RWE still believes that biomass has a role to play in future power generation and will continue to progress options at strategic sites."

The present coal fired plant will close as announced under the LCPD legislation on 31 October 2013.