The first phase of a new green energy park in Hartlepool which will result in £30m of investment and up to 80 construction jobs is taking shape.
Biopower Group Ltd is behind the development which will use proven clean technology to convert local food waste, previously destined for landfill, into electricity for the National Grid.
The project is expected to take another 15 months to complete but electricity could be generated for the National Grid as early as spring 2017 from the 23-acre site.
It’s anticipated that the phase 1 development will create 25 permanent jobs and produce sufficient electricity to generate around 4,000 homes a year.
Hartlepool-born businessman Steve Winspear, managing director of Biopower Group Ltd, said: “We are very pleased with the progress so far on the site and the forward-thinking approach by Hartlepool council has helped this substantial investment become a reality.
“There is scope on the site for two further phases which potentially could result in £100m of investment overall into the Hartlepool economy.”
Councillor Kevin Cranney, chair of the council’s Regeneration Services Committee, said the green energy park will provide a huge boost to the town.
He said: “This state-of-the-art development will result in significant investment in Hartlepool which has to be welcomed.
“The food waste will be sourced locally and converted into electricity for the National Grid, raising Hartlepool’s green credentials in the process.”
There’s also the opportunity for businesses near the site to source their energy directly from the energy park, which is seen as an incentive to attract other firms to the town.
It is hoped the business rates from the site will go some way to mitigating big cuts in taxes received from Hartlepool Power Station.
The EDF nuclear power plant had its business rate reduced after an appeal resulting in the loss of £3.9million a year to the council.
The Biopower site is expected to run around the clock.
Two future phases of the development are said to be worth potentially £100million of investment to the Hartlepool economy.
Planning permission for the development was granted by the council which has also provided advice and support to the Biopower Group.
Diggers started clearing the site in the summer ready for phase 1 - the creation of the £30 million 5.1 megawatt anaerobic digestion plant.