Dalkia power plant scheme fuels hopes for Chilton

A VILLAGE in the North East is set to be the site for one of the most cutting-edge green energy power plants in the UK.

A VILLAGE in the North East is set to be the site for one of the most cutting-edge green energy power plants in the UK.

French-owned Dalkia, one of the leading generating companies in Europe, has chosen Chilton in County Durham for a £40m combined heat and power (CHP) plant.

Half of that sum would be spent in the region on materials and components for the plant. It would be fuelled by up to 115,000 tonnes of waste wood, which would otherwise end up in landfill.

The plant would produce enough energy to power 15,000 homes.

Electricity from the plant would go into the National Grid, but there are plans to make power available to the local area at around 20% cheaper than average prices, while hot water created could be used locally.

The site would also produce up to 50,000 tonnes of wood pellets a year for use elsewhere.

The bid is backed by a 340-name petition from local people and Chilton Town Council has voted unanimously to support the scheme, saying it would be a catalyst for the regeneration of the area.

Dalkia said yesterday the venture would be one of the first biomass CHP schemes in the UK, which would place Chilton at the forefront of the Government’s drive to employ the latest technology. It said: “The proposal is for a state of the art hi-tech combined heat and power plant that will generate electricity while minimising carbon emissions.”

Dalkia has a base in Cramlington, in Northumberland, and provided CHP plants for the Newcastle General, Freeman and RVI hospitals in Newcastle.

A spokesman said the company’s biggest wood-fuelled plant provided power for 140,000 homes in Latvia.

The site was previously occupied by a feed mill and silo, which was highly visible from a wide area, and which local people dubbed ‘Chilton Cathedral’.

A total of 17 new jobs would be created with another 50 during the two-year construction period.

Durham county councillors will decide on the bid on May 26 and planners are advising approval.

They say: “ The scheme would make a positive contribution towards the provision of electricity .”

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