Is District Heating The Way Forward For Renewable Energy?

Natural Power, a leading renewable energy consultancy and energy provider, has secured planning consent for a brand new, world-class energy recovery plant which will be constructed on the site of the former Inverurie paper mill at Kirkwood Commercial Park in Aberdeenshire.

Alt Energy Magazine reports that acting on behalf of Agile Energy, Natural Power undertook the planning submission and the environmental impact report (EIA).

This included hydrology, geology and hydrogeology, ecology and ornithology studies and assessment, landscape and visual impact assessment, noise assessment, air quality impact assessment, traffic and transport assessment; and the heat and power plant for the site.

The energy provider also handled liaisons with the planning authority and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Natural Power’s renewable heat team also provided full technical support for the submission, including details about heat recovery, best available technology (BAT) review, and emissions modelling.

Alf Robertson, Managing Director at Agile Energy, said: “The Thainstone Energy Recovery plant incorporates world-leading design concepts and technology and we were delighted to have Natural Power in the team driving a successful conclusion to the important milestone of planning permission.

“We have been impressed by the professionalism of the team at Natural Power and the equally impressive professionalism and performance of the Planning Service of Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.”

The new facility will form the first phase of the planned Thainstone Energy Park development, which once complete will have the capacity to generate up to 35MW of electricity which will be exported to the national grid, and up to 80MW of heat, enough to heat 32,000 home, which will be used for a district heat network for the local area under future development plans.

From 2025, Scottish Government legislation will ban the landfilling of biodegradable (food, paper and garden) waste from 2025. It has been estimated that 1.2 million tonnes of residual waste will have to be landfilled, managed or exported outside of Scotland if new projects do not come online by then.

It is, therefore, necessary to develop more residual waste facilities within Scotland, such as the one at Thainstone, to make up the shortfall.

The facility will create 300 jobs during the construction phase and 40 permanent positions when it is processing 240,000 tonnes of waste every year.

Agile Energy says it will contribute £1 million to the local authority in business rates annually, while the construction and commissioning phase will boost the region by an estimated £20 million.

The plant includes an extensive waste sorting system to remove recyclable material before the waste is processed into fuel for the plant. Up to 240,000 tonnes of commercial waste per year will be brought to the site from businesses across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

Natural Power provides a range of planning and permitting related services right the way through an asset’s life. The planning department brings together qualified planners with project managers and a range of technical specialists to support clients during their projects.

If you’re looking for a UK district heating contractor, talk to us today.


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