Government funding approved for coal station conversion to biomass

A project to convert the Lynemouth coal-fired power plant in Northumberland to biomass has been given the green light.

The European Commission launched an investigation in February into whether plans by the British Government to financially support the conversion breached EU state aid rules.

Whitehall was due to back the project under the Contracts for Difference subsidy scheme.

But the Commission declared on 1 December that the conversion will “further EU environmental and energy goals without unduly distorting competition” and approved the subsidy.

The 420 MW power station has generated electricity from coal since 1972 and once converted should be able to supply the National Grid with up to 390 megawatts of low carbon electricity.

This is fantastic news for the Lynemouth project and the station’s 134 strong workforce,” said Lynemouth Power Limited’s Managing Director, Vaun Campbell.  

“As a full coal-to-biomass conversion, this project is a win-win for all involved. The North East region and the local economy also benefits as supply chains and other infrastructure are created.

“It has been a long journey with delays to the decision impacting the project but we can finally now move towards hopefully making an investment decision.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues