Green Light for Welsh Biomass Plant and Business Park

Land remediation near Cardiff’s shoreline will open the way for a 130,000 square feet of new industrial units, supported by a 9.5 megawatt biomass power plant. The generator, housed inside 104’ high buildings and attached to a 167’ chimney, will supply both electricity and heating to the surrounding units.

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Cardiff City Council approved the plan in mid-June despite some concerns about traffic and local air pollution. However, the council took the view that the benefits will outweigh any likely nuisance.

Carbon-Neutral

The plant will burn biomass in the form of pellets derived from both trees and recycled wood. Some will likely to be sourced from the UK, but the remainder will be purpose-grown in places like Latvia. The proximity of Cardiff docks for importing the lumber is a significant advantage.

The key benefit of biomass energy generation is that its raw material is renewable and therefore considered carbon-neutral. The plant therefore helps Cardiff and the UK meet their carbon-reduction obligations. The Welsh government has declared that Wales should generate 70% of electricity from renewables by 2030. The current figure is just 32%, and a previous target of 40% by 2020 is “likely to be missed”.

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Land Remediation

Most of the site, accessed from Rover Way, is currently a brown field wasteland, previously a landfill site for the disposal of commercial waste. Partial remediation and landscaping in the past have been undermined by continued dumping of materials from redevelopment projects elsewhere (notably the St Davids II retail scheme). Without sophisticated land remediation services, development would be impossible.

Land remediation has advanced considerably over the years. For example, Land Remediation Services from Ash Remediation will often include everything from testing through to chemical treatments, groundwater treatment, drainage, soil stabilisation, landscaping and ongoing monitoring. As a result of brown field expertise, small carbon-neutral power generation schemes are becoming increasingly common.

Outline Plans

The developer applying to build Parc Calon Gwyrdd is Manchester-based company First Step Group. Outline plans for the site have been released and can be viewed on the architect’s website. Approximately eighteen light industrial units will be fed both electricity and steam for heating from the plant.

Initial plans show areas set aside for wild flowers and ponds for amphibians, with the coastal walk also integrated into the new design.

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