The Ince Biomass Energy Plant is a proposal for a renewable energy plant at Ince Park in Cheshire.
Planning permission was granted in January 2013 for Peel Energy’s proposed 20MW biomass energy plant at Protos Park near Ince, Chester. Having undertaken post planning development work during the course of 2014 the project was transferred from Peel Energy to CoGen Limited, now taking the development forward to construction and operation. Please see the Protos website for further details.
The Ince Biomass Energy Plant would be fitted with leading edge biomass power generation technology.
An extensive Environmental Impact Assessment was undertaken as part of the planning process for the wider Resource Recovery Park. This was expanded upon to assess the changes in anticipated impact between the consented bio-ethanol plant and the new biomass plant proposal. Comprehensive environmental studies were completed including assessments of air quality, noise levels, visual impact, ecology, hydrology and geology.
When operational, plant emissions would be strictly controlled in accordance with Environment Agency regulations.
There are no odours associated with biomass-fired renewable energy plants and there will be minimal noise levels as biomass processing would be carried out off-site.
The biomass fuel will be stored and handled within the plant in fully enclosed areas which ensures that there would be no dust blown from the site.
Landscape and visual impact assessments
The built footprint of the Ince Biomass Energy Plant is smaller than that of the consented bio-ethanol plant, though some of the buildings are taller. The picture below shows the relative massing of both schemes, with the bio ethanol plant shown in orange and the biomass energy plant in purple. The tallest elements of the biomass energy plant are the chimney stack (85m) and the boiler housing (42m).
To give further context, the Growhow facility adjoining the proposed biomass site has a range of chimneys and vent stacks ranging from 91.5m (nitrogen vent) to 83 m for Prill Tower, down to 71m, 66m and 56m. Slightly to the south west of the proposed facility the Quinn Glass factory includes a stack of 76m and warehouse roofs ranging in height from 40-30m.
Ince Biomass Energy Plant
We do not believe that the new plant will give rise to a change in the character of the landscape context but it does have the potential to be seen from a wider area, primarily because of the height of the chimney stack. For this reason a detailed study of visual impact was undertaken. Photomontages were developed for different viewpoints and agreed with Cheshire West and Chester Council.
Energy and employment benefits
The power plant would be designed to have an operational life of at least 25 years and would provide renewable electricity to meet the average needs of up to 37,000 homes. As well as generating electricity, the plant would be capable of supplying renewable heat to industry and businesses in the area. This would reduce the amount of energy otherwise required to provide heat to premises and industrial processes in nearby locations.
The £70m investment also offers potential contract opportunities for local businesses during construction and operational phases. It is expected that over 100 construction jobs would be created during the two-year construction period and 15 permanent operational posts for the life of the plant. On-going supply and maintenance work would also be required at the plant.
The 20MW development would make a significant contribution towards helping the UK meet its 2020 renewable energy targets.
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