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Latest tranche of infrastructure schemes to include biomass plant

The Chancellor has unveiled the latest list of new infrastructure projects it is prepared to underwrite.

A total of 40 projects have passed the first hurdle for approval at the stage known as pre-qualification, which means they are eligible for the UK Guarantee scheme.

Of these, 16 have agreed to being named and they include a biomass power station to be built at Avonmouth near Bristol by Helius Energy.

It will be a £300m plant, generating 100MW for the National Grid and creating 450 full-time jobs. Others include energy from waste plants owned by Chinook Energy and the Tilbury Green Power waste wood-fired plant in Essex.

They are part of a £40bn scheme announced by George Osborne in 2012 but only a handful of projects have reached final approval, including a biomass plant at Drax in North Yorkshire.

The announcement was heralded by the Renewable Energy Association.

Chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska said: “For all the fuss about nuclear and fracking, let’s not forget that we’ll be well into the mid-2020s before Hinkley starts generating or we see meaningful volumes of shale gas in the pipelines.

“The supply crunch will bite well before then as old plants are retired. The biomass, wind and waste to energy projects in this list, as well as the guarantee already awarded to Drax’s biomass conversion, will be a huge help in keeping the lights on and cutting emissions this decade.

“However, the contribution dedicated biomass can make is being stymied in current policy and the new Electricity Market Reform (EMR) arrangements. We urgently need flexible, low carbon generation from biomass and Government must provide support for new biomass power plants in its EMR programme.”

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