Chemical company Brunner Mond is planning to build a Sustainable Energy Plant at its Lostock site.
The Northwich-based international manufacturer submitted an environmental impact 'scoping report' to the Department for Energy and Climate Change as well as to Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cheshire East Council for their consideration last week.
A 'scoping opinion' will then be issued by DECC to confirm the topics that will be included in the Environmental Statement. Once the Environmental Assessment and Statement have been completed, an "application for consent" to develop the Sustainable Energy Plant will be made to DECC.
An initial information leaflet was being distributed last week to homes and businesses in the Lostock area. Public exhibitions are currently being organised to be held in December.
The proposed power station will burn 600,000 tonnes of solid fuel a year, including waste brought in from treatment facilities in the North West and further afield.
The new Sustainable Energy Plant will be developed and operated with energy company E.ON on the site of the old power station at Brunner Mond's Northwich East factory in Lostock.
John Kerrigan, managing director of Brunner Mond, said in a statement: "The new Sustainable Energy Plant is vital to Brunner Mond's future as we need to reduce our exposure to increasing energy costs in order to protect our business and the jobs that depend on it. We must also address carbon reduction requirements which are now a priority for Government and the European Commission.
"Our products are supplied into highly competitive markets, so delivering best value for our customers is our absolute priority. Soda ash is a main ingredient in the manufacture of sheet glass for the motor and construction industries, sectors that are suffering more than most in the recession.
"Everyone at Brunner Mond – and that includes absolutely all staff – spends a great deal of time finding ways to control and drive down costs. However energy costs are one area where, at the moment, we are most vulnerable. These new plans will allow us to bring those costs under control, with a reliable, sustainable fuel source that is not dependant on overseas suppliers and fluctuating world markets.
"We have a long-standing commitment to sharing our plans with local people at a very early stage. We are members of this community, we live here as well as work here, so it's in our own interest to ensure that we take account of everyone's views."
Brunner Mond is one of the largest employers in the area, with 500 people working for the company.
The chemical firm has two plants, Northwich East and Northwich West, on either side of the town at Lostock and Winnington.
Originally formed in 1873, it is one of the world's leading manufacturers and suppliers of sodium carbonate (soda ash), sodium bicarbonate and associated alkaline products.