Southampton biomass power station 'would waste energy'

How the power plant would look The 100 mega watt plant would generate enough electricity to power 200,000 homes

Related Stories

A giant £300m wood-fired power station planned for Southampton would not achieve its green potential, an energy expert has said.

Dr Patrick James, of the University of Southampton, said waste heat from the electricity-generating biomass plant could be used more efficiently.

Homes and offices already make use of a district heat network nearby.

Helius Energy said it had no plans to link the plant to the network, but was looking at ways to use the waste heat.

The developer wants to build the 20-acre (eight-hectare) power station in Southampton docks, near Millbrook Railway station.

Overshadow homes

The 100 mega watt plant would have a 100m (330ft) chimney and generate electricity for 200,000 homes.

Residents living in nearby streets are worried the plant and its chimney will overshadow their homes and affect property values.

Dr James, of the university's School of Civil Engineering and the Environment, said it would it would be "rather disappointing" not to link the waste heat to the existing network.

Dr Patrick James Dr Patrick James says full use could be made of the waste heat

"Surely there would be an opportunity to use the energy which otherwise would be wasted," he said.

"Otherwise it's hard to see why there is a compelling case to put it in Southampton docks rather than burning the biomass at it's point of production, if that is in the UK."

He also said a plant reliant on imported biomass faced the possibility of being affected by worldwide wood prices.

On Saturday, more than 100 people took part in a protest alongside the proposed site, 125m (410ft) from homes in Freemantle and Millbrook.

Helius Energy says the "green" biomass plant will save at least 76% of greenhouse gas emissions against a similar fossil fuel plant.

'Reduce height'

It said the Southampton docks site was its preferred location in the region, because most of the wood would be imported by sea from Europe, the Americas or Scotland.

The docks also has existing high voltage connections to the electricity network, it added, and about 40 permanent full-time jobs would be created.

Biomass protests Protesters insist the planned power station would be too close to homes

The firm has also announced it is now working to reduce the size of the buildings so it can "reduce the visual impact".

The announcement comes as an ongoing consultation with residents is under way. People have until 21 April to comment on the plans.

Last week, leaders at Conservative-run Southampton City Council also came out against the scheme and Dr Alan Whitehead, Labour MP for Southampton Test, said the location and size made the proposals "unworkable".

The final decision on the application will be made by central government's Infrastructure Planning Commission, not the city council.

If approved, construction would begin in 2012.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Hampshire & Isle of Wight



Min. Night 15 °C


  • RihannaCloud caution

    After celebrity leaks, what can you do to safeguard your photos?

  • Cesc FabregasFair price?

    Have some football clubs overpaid for their new players?

  • Woman and hairdryerBlow back

    Would banning high-power appliances actually save energy?

  • Rack of lambFavourite feast

    Is the UK unusually fond of lamb and potatoes?

  • Members of staff at James Stevenson Flags hold a Union Jack and Saltire flag UK minus Scotland

    Does the rest of the UK care if the Scots become independent?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.