Major jobs boost for Humber Ports as ABP invests £100m to support Drax’s biomass transformation
March 27, 2013
Associated British Ports (ABP) has today, 27 March, announced that it has signed a 15-year contract with Drax Power Limited, operating subsidiary of Drax Group Plc, which will see terminal investments of up to £100m to handle wood pellet shipments at its Humber Ports of Immingham, Hull and Goole to support Drax Power’s conversion to a low carbon electricity producer through replacing coal with sustainable biomass.
The project will generate approximately 100 jobs at ABP’s Humber Ports during the construction phase and over 100 permanent positions will be supported once the facilities become fully operational over the next few years.
The Drax Power Station at Selby is the UK’s largest single producer of electricity, meeting approximately seven per cent of the UK’s electricity needs. Drax plans to convert three of its existing coal-fired generating units to burn sustainable biomass which will result in its output being predominantly from renewable resources within the next few years. In response to this project ABP is investing in new discharge and storage facilities at its Ports of Immingham, Hull and Goole.
At the Humber International Terminal (HIT) at its Port of Immingham, ABP will create a dedicated import facility, the Immingham Renewable Fuels Terminal, to handle Panamax-size bulk carriers which will service up to three million tonnes of wood pellets a year. The investment will require new quayside discharge plant with associated equipment to convey the biomass from the ships to new silos capable of storing up to 100,000 tonnes. From these silos, cargo will be conveyed to a new a train loading facility which will service the specialist rail wagons transporting the biomass to the power station at Selby. The project also includes a significant upgrade in rail infrastructure at HIT to facilitate the servicing of this new trade.
At Hull, ABP is investing in dedicated handling equipment and storage facilities in order to handle up to one million tonnes of biomass each year to be supplied to Drax by rail. Further inland at its port of Goole, only seven miles from Drax, investment in warehousing is also being made as a result of increased imports of biomass through the port.
ABP’s new Chief Executive, James Cooper, said: “We are very pleased to be able to announce that we have signed this contract with Drax. As the UK’s leading ports operator we look forward to building on our already long-standing relationship with a leading UK energy producer.
“ABP’s Humber Ports are already at the forefront of the renewables industry with the proposed development of the £200m Green Port Hull offshore wind turbine facility, while at Grimsby there is continuous investment by leading offshore wind farm operators in the development of Operations and Maintenance bases. This investment at Hull, Immingham and Goole looks set to secure the Humber region’s position as a centre of excellence for the development of the low carbon energy future”.
Commenting on the contract, Drax’s Chief Executive, Dorothy Thompson, said: “Investment in the biomass supply chain is critical to developing this nascent industry and realising its huge potential. Importantly, this investment helps to deliver both the low carbon and growth agendas set for the UK, whilst providing secure and reliable supplies of cost-effective renewable power. We are delighted to be working with a trusted partner in making real progress towards a low carbon economy.”
Welcoming the announcement, Lord Haskins of Skidby, Chairman of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is extremely good news for the Humber region. ABP’s vision and ambition to facilitate the UK government’s green energy agenda will immediately provide jobs we very much need in this area."
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