North West Wales

£1bn biomass plant to bring 1,700 jobs to Anglesey

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Media captionLewis LeVasseur and Sean McCormick from the Orthios project on the scale of their ambitions

Work is set to start on a £1bn combined food and power plant on Anglesey, which will create more than 1,700 jobs.

The large biomass plant and eco park will be built near Holyhead after the company behind it, Orthios, bought the former Anglesey Aluminium site.

The development will see more than 500 permanent jobs and 1,200 construction jobs brought to the area before 2018.

The plant will process waste wood to create power, with heat generated used to farm prawns and grow vegetables.

It is expected to generate 299MW of electricity, which is enough to power about 300,000 homes.

Albert Owen, MP for Anglesey, said Orthios Eco Park had the potential "to be a catalyst in giving the local economy a much-needed boost".

"The company intends to liaise with businesses, training providers and schools in the area - the benefits of which will be seen in the local and regional economy as well as providing career opportunities," he said.

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Media captionAnglesey council leader Ieuan William said the 'innovative' project will create scores of jobs

The plant is one of two planned for Wales - a similar facility will also be built in Port Talbot - after which the technology will be rolled out to China and developing countries.

The idea is for a biomass power plant generating electricity with spare heat being used to warm indoor ponds for king prawn farming. The UK currently imports king prawns.

Waste from the prawns can then be used as fertiliser to grow crops.

Image caption How the biomass plant and eco park will work

Isle of Anglesey Council leader Ieuan Williams said there would be more jobs as a result of the "innovative project", adding that the impact would be felt in the wider community and along the supply chain.

He said the plant cemented Anglesey's reputation as an island for innovation and centre of excellence for energy projects.

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Media captionProf Mike Kaiser of Bangor University tells BBC Wales the project is 'exciting'

Lewis LeVasseur, chief operations officer of Orthios, said the plant's importance stemmed from it being a "solution for food and power generation for developing nations around the world".

He added: "The impact for the island's population is the diverse range of skill sets that will be required to run and manage the eco park."

Anglesey Aluminium smelting works shut in 2009 with the loss of nearly 400 jobs.

Image caption An area where the prawns will be harvested
Image caption The former Anglesey Aluminium site

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