New Biomass & Prawn Plant For Anglesey
By Paul Homewood
h/t Paul R
Work is set to start on a £1bn combined food and power plant on Anglesey, which will create more than 1,700 jobs.
The large biomass plant and eco park will be built near Holyhead after the company behind it, Orthios, bought the former Anglesey Aluminium site.
The development will see more than 500 permanent jobs and 1,200 construction jobs brought to the area before 2018.
The plant will process waste wood to create power, with heat generated used to farm prawns and grow vegetables.
It is expected to generate 299MW of electricity, which is enough to power about 300,000 homes.
Albert Owen, MP for Anglesey, said Orthios Eco Park had the potential "to be a catalyst in giving the local economy a much-needed boost".
"The company intends to liaise with businesses, training providers and schools in the area – the benefits of which will be seen in the local and regional economy as well as providing career opportunities," he said.
Anglesey council leader Ieuan William said the ‘innovative’ project will create scores of jobs
The plant is one of two planned for Wales – a similar facility will also be built in Port Talbot – after which the technology will be rolled out to China and developing countries.
The idea is for a biomass power plant generating electricity with spare heat being used to warm indoor ponds for king prawn farming. The UK currently imports king prawns.
Waste from the prawns can then be used as fertiliser to grow crops.
Isle of Anglesey Council leader Ieuan Williams said there would be more jobs as a result of the "innovative project", adding that the impact would be felt in the wider community and along the supply chain.
He said the plant cemented Anglesey’s reputation as an island for innovation and centre of excellence for energy projects.
Lewis LeVasseur, chief operations officer of Orthios, said the plant’s importance stemmed from it being a "solution for food and power generation for developing nations around the world".
He added: "The impact for the island’s population is the diverse range of skill sets that will be required to run and manage the eco park."
Anglesey Aluminium smelting works shut in 2009 with the loss of nearly 400 jobs.
The Orthios website gives more detail. The plant will run with 5 separate 60MW power modules. The BBC therefore are confusing capacity with output, when they claim it is expected to generate 299MW of electricity.
Although Orthios claim that it will provide electricity for 650,000 homes, this would imply 100% loading, something like 2.6 TWh/year. The BBC figure of 300,000 is closer to the truth, ie about 1.1 TWh, giving capacity loading of 42%.
Assuming the same strike price awarded to Drax, £105/MWh @ 2012 prices, annual subsidies at today’s prices would amount to something in the region of £80 million a year, a very handy rate of return on capital investment of £1 billion.
What is also interesting, and something that is not mentioned by the BBC, is that the project is being funded by the Chinese, as Orthios announced on Tuesday:
A Chinese investment group is to invest £2bn backing two innovative biomass plants and associated food production stations in Wales that will create 1,000 jobs and thousands more during the construction phase.
Chinese investment group SinoFortone said that as part of the £2bn investment it will back projects to develop energy and food stations, initially at Holyhead and Port Talbot.
The projects are being developed by Orthios Eco Parks.
SinoFortone is a privately owned investment company but its investment in Wales has been backed financially by the Chinese state.
It’s a strange world where we can force an aluminium plant to close entirely because of high energy prices, replace it with a woodburning power plant which requires massive subsidies to make it economical, with most of the profits being exported to China, and somehow regard it as a success!
Still, at least we’ll get some prawn cocktails out of it.