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22 September 2010

Spain's largest biomass plant gets go-ahead

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New €100m plant set to supply 400,000 people with electricity from wood fuel
Ambitious plans for Spain's largest biomass plant have been approved by the Spanish government.

Renewable energy group Ence required governmental permission as the €100m (£84.4m) plant near the town of Huelva was to be funded using public money specifically set aside for renewable energy projects.

Ence has drawn up a shortlist of three companies – Tecnicas Reunidas, OHL and Acciona-Idom – to build the plant, which when completed will increase the firm’s current 68MW facility to 118MW and become Spain’s largest.

The wood fuel for the Huelva plant is likely to come from the company's 116,000 hectares of sustainably managed forests in Spain, Portugal and Uruguay, although the company said it hoped to decrease its dependence on imported materials.

The new plant should supply energy to about 400,000 people as well as going some way to meeting the Andalucian Energy Sustainability Plan's (SKIP) objective of producing 257MW from biomass by 2013.

Renewable energy as a whole met just under 13 per cent of all demand in Spain last year and the country has been expanding its investment to increase this to 22.7 per cent by 2020, as the government announced in March.

It is already home to the world's largest solar power station, which opened in July and has also been traditionally strong in producing wind energy, but biomass still lags some way behind.

In total, biomass accounted for just 1.3 per cent of energy production in 2009, compared to 12.5 per cent for wind power.


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