Plans for an energy from waste facility in Hull have taken a major step forward after backing from the European Commission.
Following an application by developer Spencer Group for a £20m grant, the commission has ruled that assistance for the plant would be in line with state aid regulations.
The decision clears the way for the UK government to allocate the cash from the European Regional Development Fund.
Final approval for the grant now depends on approval by the commission under its Major Project Application rules, which apply to grant supported projects with a capital cost of more than €50m. A decision is due in the next few weeks.
The facility, costing more than £100m, aims to cut waste sent to landfill from local authorities in Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire by 90%, and will produce enough electricity to power 25,000 homes.
The European Commission announcement said the project, called Energy Works, was “considered to be an emerging technology in the waste treatment sector because it allows a cleaner and more efficient recovery of energy from waste than through traditional techniques”.
Joaquín Almunia, European Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy, said: “This plant will produce electricity from partially biodegradable waste without unduly distorting competition in the internal market. This will allow the UK to diversify its electricity sources and at the same time reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.
Construction is scheduled to begin early next year, with the first phase, the gasification plant, operational by the end of 2014.