Work has begun to build two electricity substations and a grid connection at Peel Environmental’s 134-acre Protos site near Ellesmere Port.
Peel Environmental, a subsidiary of Peel L&P, is investing £16m in energy infrastructure work at the site, which has outline and part-detailed consent for a £700m manufacturing and distribution complex with a biomass facility and an energy-from-waste plant. The site was previously known as Ince Resource Recovery.
After securing consent from Cheshire West and Chester Council for the electricity works, Smith Brothers Contracting are on site building two 132-kilovolt substations, a 33KV switchboard and transformers, and cables that will connect to a new pylon delivered by local district network operator Scottish Power Energy Networks.
Once complete, the project will enable 124 megawatts of export from generators and 57MW of import to Protos.
Peel Environmental will retain ownership of one substation while SPEN will adopt the other, the developer said. SPEN will also carry out grid improvement works at nearby Ince and Frodsham to enable the capacity at Protos.
The first phase of work is due to be completed by October 2020, when 50MW of export to the grid will be delivered. The scheme’s full capacity is set to be activated by December 2023.
The infrastructure work is “essential to enabling the future of Protos”, in particular for the energy generators already secured for the site, Peel Environmental said. Plans are underway to build a 49MW energy-from-waste plant and the UK’s first commercial scale bio-substitute gas plant, developed by Progressive Energy, both of which are due to start construction this year.
Meanwhile, a planning application for a waste plastic to hydrogen facility is due to be determined in the coming months.
Protos, which sits within the Energy Innovation District led by Cheshire & Warrington LEP, Cheshire West and Chester Council and the University of Chester, is intended to become a hub for the growth of energy generation and resource management technologies.
Jayne Hennessy, director at Peel Environmental, said: “Protos is about locating innovative energy technologies side by side with energy-intensive industries in Cheshire, so they can benefit from the low carbon energy we’re producing.
“These essential grid upgrades will not only futureproof Protos but will be an important step in creating a local grid where energy users will be able to get lower cost and lower carbon energy.”