Wales aluminum company proposes woody biomass power plant

By Lisa Gibson
Posted September 29, 2009, at 9:28 a.m. CST

Anglesey Aluminum Metals Ltd., Holyhead, Wales, has submitted an application for approval of a 299-megawatt biomass power plant to be located near the company's aluminum smelter and possibly power it, according to Stephen Cox, biomass engineer with the company.

If approved, the plant would consume about 2.4 million tons of woody biomass, such as wood chips, pellets or agricultural residues, per year, Cox said. He declined to release a cost estimate for the project, but said Anglesey Aluminum hopes to commence basic construction in early 2011 with a three-year construction period. Currently, the company is going through the appropriate planning applications and engineering feasibilities.

How the energy will be used is undetermined, Cox said, but it could be used to power the company's smelter or be sold to the grid. Anglesey relies now on power from the Wylfa nuclear power plant, which is scheduled to close in 2010.

Along with the application made under Section 36 of the Electricity Act, the company submitted an Environmental Statement to the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Consultations with national and local organizations were held in June and another public exhibition to present the findings of the Environmental Impact Assessment will be held in October, according to the company.

Angelsey is jointly owned by Riotinto Aluminum, Brisbane Queensland 4000, Australia, and Kaiser Aluminum, Foothill Ranch, Calif.