Forth Energy drops all biomass plans in Scotland

Biomass power station on the waterfront The planned Dundee biomass power station (© Gordon Murray Architects)

Mar 27, 2014

Forth Energy have confirmed that they are dropping plans to build their consented 100MWe biomass power stations in Grangemouth and Rosyth, as well as withdrawing plans for a similar plant in Dundee. Campaigners and community members have expressed their joy at hearing the announcement.

Forth Energy, formerly a joint venture between Forth Ports and SSE, have confirmed that they are dropping plans to build their consented 100MWe biomass power stations in Grangemouth and Rosyth, as well as withdrawing plans for a similar plant in Dundee. Campaigners and community members have expressed their joy at hearing the announcement. Whilst Forth Energy will now be looking to sell their consents at Grangemouth and Rosyth on to other developers, campaigners are warning that any new attempts to revive the plans will be fiercely opposed.

Walter Inglis, formerly Chairperson of Grangemouth Community Council said: "This is certainly good news for us in Grangemouth, as it casts even more doubt on these plans. After having opposed Forth Energy's plans for so long it's great to see them walking away. However, the consent remains in place so we'll be watching closely to make sure no other developers try to take it on."

Andrew Llanwarne, Co-ordinator of Friends of the Earth Tayside, welcomed the announcement. "This removes a dark shadow which has been hanging over Dundee for the past four years and it's great news for all who campaigned against the project. It would have been highly inefficient as a means of producing electricity and required enormous Government subsidies of about £1m each year for every job - there must be better ways to create much-needed employment in Dundee.

It would have added to Dundee's existing problems of air pollution and had a negative visual impact on the waterfront, as Dundee Councillors decided last June. But it would also have made a major contribution to carbon emissions which are disrupting our climate, and had devastating effects on communities and biodiversity in other countries."

Almuth Ernsting, Biofuelwatch co-Director said: "Forth Energy's announcement is good news for forests and for local communities who had been facing serious air pollution and health impacts. We strongly hope that the Scottish Government will not back any destructive big biomass power station plans in future and that no other company will want to acquire Forth Energy's planning consents in Rosyth or Grangemouth."

Between them, the three plants will have required some 3.5 million tonnes of wood each year, likely to have been sourced from the southern US, where there is strong evidence that pellet producers are clearing ancient wetland forests, driven by demand from Europe and the UK in particular. In addition, major concerns have been raised about the carbon intensity of burning biomass, where recent studies have shown that it is actually worse for the climate than burning coal.

The Grangemouth and Dundee plants were strongly opposed by local residents on numerous grounds, including the air pollution they would have caused and the unsustainability of big biomass electricity.