Northern Ireland Environment Minister Edwin Poots has approved plans for a biomass fuelled power plant at Glenavy, County Antrim. The power plant will be fuelled by poultry bedding and meat and bone meal (approximately 260,000 tonnes annually) to produce 30MW of electricity as an output of the incineration process.
The planning application by developer Rose Energy was submitted on 4 June 2008, accompanied by an environmental statement.
According to the Minister: “The power plant facility will create in the region of 300-400 construction jobs and approximately 30 permanent jobs in the operation of the facility once constructed. It will also have indirect employment and investment benefits in connection with Belfast Port and the haulage industry in Northern Ireland.”
The poultry industry generates an income of more than £2 million to Belfast Port and the main poultry producers. It imports 680,000 tonnes of feed annually which generates significant haulage work to enable distribution across the region.
A biomass fuelled incineration plant is currently recognised as the only proven technology for processing poultry litter on a commercial scale that significantly reduces the volume of litter to be disposed off. This type of plant can help Northern Ireland comply with the EU Nitrates Directive and avoid potential EU infraction costs.
“I am fully aware of both the opposition and support for the power plant, and that I have a judgement to make between the benefits of the proposal to the poultry industry and the Northern Ireland economy and the potential adverse impacts on residential amenity and the landscape setting,” says the Minister. “Having given the proposal careful consideration, including visiting the site and viewing it from Lough Neagh, I am satisfied that on balance it should be approved.