Tilbury power station applies for permanent environmental permit.

RWE has applied for an environmental permit to permanently run its 750MW Tilbury plant to burn biomass and hopes to make a final decision on reopening the facility late this year, RWE said on Thursday (Jan 31st) reports icis.com

Tilbury B is set to close later this year because it will run out of its allocated hours under the EU’s low combustion plant directive (LCPD). The plant converted from coal to biomass last year. The EU directive forcing heavily polluting plants to clean up or close came into force when the plant was coal-fired (see EDEM 26 September 2012). Despite converting to biomass, the directive still applies to the plant.

“We are looking at ways to use the site for biomass once we’ve closed [it],” said an RWE spokesperson. “We are in the process of acquiring the relevant licences [for] 100% biomass. We will make a decision on whether to go forward with the investment if we receive the environmental permit.”

He added that the company expected to receive a decision on the environmental permit during the summer, and will be in the position to make an investment decision in Q3. “If we go ahead, we hope the plant would be running by mid-2014,” he continued.

The transmission system operator National Grid’s transmission entry capacity register shows that the company has applied to remove 190MW of the plant’s capacity from the grid. The RWE spokesperson said that the capacity removal was part of a ramp-down in preparation for its complete closure. KM

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