Tilbury biomass project scores financing, fuel contract

By Anna Simet | April 02, 2015

A 60-MW biomass power plant proposed at the Port of Tilbury in Essex county, northeast of London, England, recently achieved two milestones—a fuel supply contract with Stobart Group Ltd., and financing backed by the U.K. Green Investment Bank and Irish power utility ESB.

The plant, Tilbury Green Power, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Express Energy and was granted planning approval from the Department of Energy and Climate Change in 2009. The company plans to split development into two 30 MWe phases, the first of which will use waste wood as fuel. The second phase will be fuelled by waste derived from household, commercial and industrial waste.

Tilbury Green Power recently signed a 15-year, index-linked contract with Stobart for 270,000 metric tons of waste wood per year. As part of the project at the Port, Stobart announced it will invest £7.5m in the construction of a new processing facility that will be built adjacent to the power station, enabling on-site processing of fuel.

Now fully financed, the Tilbury Green Power marks ESB’s first investment in the U.K. waste and biomass sector. According to statements issued by GIB and ESB, each are committing £35m in a combination of equity and shareholder loans, with an additional £2m participation from technology provider Aalborg Energie Technik a/s. Senior debt funding is being provided by EKF (Eksport Kredit Fonden), Investec and Rabobank.

The plant will be built by Danish power plant specialist Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S.

Construction of the processing facility is planned to begin this year; the first power station is slated for operations in 2016.

The project is not associated with RWE npower’s proposed Tilbury station biomass conversion, which was cancelled in 2013.