1,000 jobs in Holyhead and Port Talbot with £2bn Chinese investment

Site of biomass Image copyright Orhios
Image caption How the site of the Anglesey development looks at the moment

A Chinese company is to invest £2bn in two eco-parks in north and south west Wales creating 1,000 jobs.

SinoFortone Group said the investment would build two 299MWe biomass power stations on Anglesey and in Port Talbot.

Heat from the plants will be recycled by hydroponic and aquaculture centres, producing prawns and vegetables.

The announcement was made as Chinese President Xi Jinping started his UK visit.

Development company SinoFortone Group said it had the support of the Chinese government and it would be the largest biomass power project in the world.

The project will take three years.

'Major boost'

A co-operation agreement has been signed with the British Orthios Group, whose chief executive Sean McCormick said the "core objective" of the project was to increase the UK biomass energy supply while reducing carbon emissions and increasing food supply.

A Welsh government spokesman said: "We welcome any further progress on these two projects, which have the potential to create hundreds of jobs and provide a major boost for the local economy."

A spokesman for Anglesey council said: "This investment will bring a tremendous boost to the economy of the area.

"This news moves the project considerably closer to being realised."

The Anglesey biomass project pledges to deliver up to 500 jobs on the site of the former Anglesey Aluminium plant at Holyhead.

It hopes to create 120 jobs directly in the energy plant and more than 300 jobs producing seafood, fruit and vegetables in the adjoining eco-businesses.

Proposals were first unveiled by Mr McCormick in 2009 and received a licence four years ago.

Nearly 400 jobs were lost when the aluminium plant closed.

As many as 2,500 jobs and £2.3bn investment has already been pledged for the island over the next 15 years, with renewable energy projects and hopes of a new nuclear plant at Wylfa.

John Idris Jones, director of the Anglesey Energy Island project, said: "This is good news for the project and a step in the right direction. We look forward now to seeing some work on this site."

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Media captionAnglesey MP Albert Owen says the announcement is good news for the island

Plans for a biomass plant in Port Talbot have also been put forward in recent years - receiving permission in 2007 - but it faced local opposition.

Ralph Windeatt, head of commercial at ABP South Wales, said: "We are delighted to be working alongside Orthios and SinoFortone to deliver the Port Talbot eco-park, a combined power and food facility that will deliver much welcomed economic growth, jobs and training opportunities in the region."

SinoFortone Group chief executive Dr Peter Zhang said: "We see this as a ground-changing model that many countries will benefit from and are delighted to be teamed with the Orthios team."

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