Tyne & Wear

Biomass hope for Lynemouth Alcan power station

Alcan plant at Lynemouth
Image caption The power station served the Alcan smelter from its opening in 1972 to its closure in May

A coal-fired power station in Northumberland could be converted to a biomass facility, following its sale to a German energy company.

Lynemouth Power Station was built to serve the Alcan aluminium smelter which shut down earlier in the year with the loss of hundreds of posts.

RWE has now bought the power plant from Rio Tinto, in a move which is hoped will safeguard its 150 jobs.

A decision on whether to proceed with a biomass option will be made in 2013.

Since the smelter closed in May, the adjoining 420MW coal-fired station has been providing electricity solely to the National Grid.

John McCabe, from Rio Tinto, said: "Lynemouth Power Station served our business very well over the years and since the closure of the smelter, we've been determined to complete the sale in order to continue the plant operations.

"We wish everyone at the plant all the very best for the future under RWE's ownership."

Bob Huntington, managing director at Lynemouth Power Station, said: "We are looking at the option to convert the station to biomass.

"RWE has a wealth of experience in operating coal and biomass fuelled power plants across the UK and continental Europe, and more recently the conversion of Tilbury Power Station - the largest biomass plant in Europe."

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