North West Wales

Anglesey biomass plant given UK government go-ahead

Inside the metals plant
Image caption There are numerous plans on the table for land owned by the metals company at Holyhead

A biomass plant on Anglesey with the potential to power 300,000 homes has been given the go-ahead by the UK government.

Construction of the power plant at the Anglesey Aluminium Metals (AAM) site near Holyhead is set to create up to 600 jobs.

About 100 full-time staff will be employed when it is operational.

In a separate development AAM said it had a preferred bidder for the plant, which is on the market for around £10m.

Energy Minister Charles Hendry said it would provide a source of renewable energy and offer high quality jobs on Anglesey.

The plant has already been given an environmental permit by the Environment Agency Wales after a year's scrutiny of the plans.

The power generated will be used by the aluminium works or exported to the national grid.

It was the need for a cheap source of electricity which AAM said was part of the reason for its decision to close the smelting works at Holyhead in September 2009 with the loss of 390 jobs.

A re-melt plant remains open on the site.

Fuel such as wood pellets will be used to power the biomass plant.

That will be from local sources and also imported materials - which will arrive via the port of Holyhead.

"We want a balanced energy portfolio and we want biomass to play a key role in this," said Mr Hendry.

Biomass power stations "such as this one in Anglesey" will provide a "reliable, secure, flexible and renewable source of power", he added.

Leisure park

There are numerous plans on the table for the site.

In May a tourism plan on land owned by the metals company was welcomed by the island's MP, who said both manufacturing jobs and tourism can co-exist on Anglesey.

Albert Owen, reacting to a plan for a leisure park with a possible 600 jobs at Holyhead, added the island fitted in with the future of sustainable tourism.

Land and Lakes has an option to buy 630 acres of land owned by AAM at Penrhos Country Park.

If all the plans for the land which AAM owns come to fruition it could mean the leisure park, a biomass plant, and whatever comes to the empty smelter plant would be near each other at Holyhead.

Speaking after Friday's announcement Anglesey council leader Bryan Owen, said: "There is great potential for job creation, both in terms of the construction and operation of the proposed plant.

"Clearly, this is a credible project which also reflects the wider energy mix associated with the Anglesey energy island programme," he said.

Anglesey AM and Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said it was an "opportunity to bring vital new jobs to the local area".

"The preferred bidder has been selected," said John Mervyn Jones, the senior environmental specialist at Anglesey Aluminium Metals.

"The board told us the decision will be announced publicly probably at the end of this month."

He said the bidder could not be named for commercial confidentiality and legal reasons.

More on this story

Related Internet links

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