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Gaia selects Aker Solutions to build biomass plant

GAIA Power has today appointed Aker Solutions, a global provider of engineering, technology and construction solutions, as the organisation who will work with them to develop the proposed 50 MWe biomass power station at Billingham.

The announcement is a triple boost for the region and heralds another step towards Gaia Power realising their ambitious plan. Following project implementation construction jobs will go to local workers and the huge investment will stay in the area.

Yarm-based Gaia Power announced plans for the plant earlier this year. On completion the plant will bring 50 high-quality permanent jobs, the opportunity for apprenticeships and work for local graduates, as well as 50 supply-chain positions.

Michael Fox, Gaia Power founder and chairman, said: “It is fantastic to be able to announce that once the project details are finalised the plant will be built by a company with Aker Solutions stature and experience.”

Alex Dickinson, Gaia Power Director said: “We considered many, large European companies but none could offer the experience and track record for delivering this type of project compared to Aker Solutions. The fact that they too are a locally based company speaks volumes about the capabilities of the Tees Valley.

“We have signed an agreement with Aker Solutions and, provided we are granted planning permission, we would hope they will be on site early in 2010. It is expected construction will take about 30-36 months.”

David Ley, President and Managing Director of Aker Solutions’ E&C business in Stockton-on-Tees, said: “With our strong capability in designing and building biomass fuelled power plants, we look forward to working with Gaia Power on this exciting development.

“Our global organisation is committed to the development of technology and services to meet the fundamental challenges related to the energy gap and climate change. With our experience and involvement in new energy and environmental segments such as biofuels, wind power and carbon capture and storage, the Gaia project is a further demonstration of our commitment to being part of the solution to these challenges. The fact that this is a totally local initiative makes it all the more satisfying.”

Neil Kenley, Strategic Investment and Marketing Director at Tees Valley Regeneration, said: “The announcement that Gaia Power has struck a deal with Aker Solutions is fantastic news and a great boost for the Tees Valley.

“Tees Valley Regeneration’s business development team saw the huge potential of this ambitious project and played a vital role in securing the deal and the jobs that will come with it.

“It’s a real vote of confidence for the Tees Valley’s business and industry community and we hope its success will act as a catalyst for further investment and job creation.”

Richard Poundford, of Stockton Council said: “The Project is still subject to planning permission, however this is a perfect case study of how major developments can have a wider benefit to the community both in terms of the project itself, as well as the opportunities to create direct employment, and indirect employment through the supply chain. I am not surprised that GAIA have selected Aker Solutions as they are a tremendous locally based business”

The power station will burn recycled wood chippings to generate power and will be the first biomass plant in Stockton Borough - making a huge contribution to reducing the area’s carbon footprint.

Gaia chose recycled wood to power the plant because it is a carbon neutral renewable fuel that meets the criteria of the Government’s Renewable Energy Directive and it diverts a fuel stream which would otherwise go to landfill.

The plant will be built on a 16 acre site at Billingham Reach Industrial Park and will generate enough power to supply more than 80,000 homes a year. It will be linked to the local grid via the existing network and is expected to be in operation by summer 2012.


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News Categories : Sustainable energy
Recycled wood
Renewable electricity
Wood biomass