Published: 09:00, 09 August 2016
| Updated: 09:23, 09 August 2016
A £160 million deal has been reached to build a biomass power plant capable of supplying 50,000 homes in Kent.
The project will be built by Danish engineering and contracting company BWSC after an investment by a fund managed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.
The two companies now own 100% of the biomass-fired power plant, which was the brainchild of sustainable infrastructure developer Estover Energy Ltd, which will hold a minority interest when the commercial operation begins.
Set to be up and running by the summer of 2018, BWSC will run and maintain the site on a 20-year contract.
Much of the power will be delivered to the science estate Discovery Park in Sandwich, where it will be based, using virgin wood from the UK, saving about 100,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
It will create around 300 jobs during its construction phase and 25 full-time jobs once operational.
The scheme, which will sit on the north east side of the park, was first given planning approval in October 2013.
Discovery Park managing director Paul Barber said the plant would make the site self-sufficient for energy and reduce its carbon footprint.
He said: “The signing of this deal is great news for Discovery Park and in agreeing terms for a £160 million investment a vote of confidence in this site’s ongoing success.
“This summer we passed the milestone of 150 companies on site, employing over 2,400 people. For them, this agreement guarantees them future security of energy supplies at a time of great uncertainty in the UK energy market.”
Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners senior partner Christina Grumstrup Sørensen said: “Our investment in Kent builds on our good experience with the UK biomass power market which to date includes the Brigg project which was commissioned in January 2016 and the Snetterton and Templeborough projects that are under construction and planned to be commissioned in 2017.
“The Kent project presents an attractive investment opportunity for CIP in a country with a well-established and stable regulatory regime.
BWSC chief executive Anders Heine Jensen said: “The Kent project is BWSC’s eighth turnkey biomass power plant project in the UK within the last five years, and it underlines our strong position on the UK renewable energy market.
“The project also illustrates the value of the close cooperation between strong financial and industrial players in the energy sector resulting in attractive business opportunities and investments for both parties.”