Peel proposes Trafford biomass plant

Michael Hunt

Peel Energy has announced plans to develop a 20MW renewable energy plant on land on the south side of the Manchester Ship Canal, immediately west of Barton High Level Bridge in Trafford.

The £70m Barton Renewable Energy Plant would be fuelled primarily by biomass sourced from recycled wood, agricultural and forestry residues and energy crops.

As part of the planning process, which requires consent from Trafford Council, Peel Energy is consulting widely with interested parties, including Trafford and Salford Councils, the Environment Agency, Highways Agency, members of the public and a range of other organisations.

A local public consultation has been organised so that interested members of the public can take a closer look at the project proposals and discuss the plans with Peel Energy staff on an individual basis. Peel said over 2,300 households and businesses in Trafford and Salford have been notified about the consultation process. Once the consultation has taken place Peel Energy will examine all the views expressed by local residents and other interested parties.

The public consultation is being held at the Powerleague Trafford Soccer Dome at Trafford Quays Leisure Village on Tuesday 20 July, from 4pm until 9pm, and Wednesday 21 July, from 10am-3pm.

 Peel proposes Trafford biomass plantPeel said that the proposed renewable energy plant is expected to bring a number of significant benefits including over 100 jobs being created during the two year construction phase and at least 15 full-time staff would be required to operate the plant. Peel added local supply and contract opportunities would also be available.

Peel Energy estimates that the Barton Renewable Energy Plant would save up to 75,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year by replacing energy generated by conventional means and the plant would provide enough renewable electricity to power up to 37,000 homes, which Peel said is more than one-third of the homes in Trafford.

Peel Energy is also investigating options for increasing the overall efficiency of the plant through the supply of heat to local industry, businesses and housing in the area. Recipients could include the Trafford Centre and companies at nearby Trafford Park and Port Salford locations.

There would be no requirement for any new overhead cables and pylons as electricity generated would be distributed to the National Grid by an underground cable. Renewable heat would also be fed to businesses and new homes by an underground pipe network.

Peel expects that a planning application will be made to Trafford Council in the autumn.

Jon England, project director at Peel Energy, said: "Our venture into dedicated biomass-fired energy generation will contribute towards government targets for higher levels of renewable electricity generation and help provide secure energy supplies for the region.

"We are keen to hear from as many interested parties as possible during our consultation phase and I would encourage you to drop in and see us at the public consultation."

Peel said work could begin on the site in early 2012, if the Barton Renewable Energy Plant gains planning consent, and the plant could be generating electricity by mid-2014.

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