Power company E.ON has confirmed plans to build a biomass plant in Scotland, with the promise of more than 300 jobs. About 40 jobs would be created at the Lockerbie site with a further 300 in forestry and farming.
The firm said it would be the largest UK plant of its kind, developing the potential for crops to be grown for use as environmentally friendly fuels.
E.ON said 220,000 tonnes of fuel required for the station each year would come from the local area.
It estimated that 45,000 tonnes of willow trees would be harvested by farmers.
E.ON, which has two wind farm sites in Scotland, said it was working with Siemens and Kvaerner on the plant at Steven’s Croft. It wants to start operations in December 2007.
Chief executive Dr Paul Golby said: “This is a major project for us and for Scotland because biomass is a carbon neutral fuel with huge potential for both electricity generation and for farmers growing the crops we can burn.
“Lockerbie is also further evidence of our commitment to helping both the UK Government and the Scottish Executive to meet their tough green energy targets.
“The project will also be creating hundreds of jobs, both directly and indirectly, in the local area and we at E.ON are committed to using local producers for our fuel needs.”
Enterprise Minister Nicol Stephen: “This is excellent news for Lockerbie and Scotland.
“We know that Scotland has an abundant resource to lead the way in biomass development in the UK, providing and sustaining jobs and meeting local energy needs.
“Developments like E.ON UK’s demonstrate extremely clearly that, by seizing these tremendous opportunities, we can help make Scotland a powerhouse of renewable energy.”
Shiona Baird, the Scottish Greens’ energy spokeswoman, said: “The new power station and the considerable number of jobs that it will create is good news for Lockerbie and for Scotland.
“This move confirms the environmental and economic benefits of developing renewable energy sources – I hope it will kick-start demand and help boost confidence in the biomass industry.”
Source: BBC News Oct. 12, 2005.