2 May 2013

Shoreham Port may soon be home to a revolutionary power plant courtesy of specialist renewable energy company Edgeley Green Power Limited. Shoreham Port fully supports Edgeley Green Power in their aim to generate renewable energy and create jobs for local people.

The location and scale of the proposed power station is highlighted in the Port Masterplan adopted by Shoreham Port in 2010 and formally supported by the three local planning authorities - Adur District, Brighton & Hove City and West Sussex County Councils. The proposal meets the strategic objectives of the Masterplan, in particular to attract port-related investment to grow the Port and create jobs, and to become an important location for renewable energy.

It also fits with the regeneration plans for the wider Shoreham Harbour area being developed in partnership with the three local authorities. Shoreham Port now has Eco-port status and is implementing a programme of green initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint. Renewable energy generation fits with the Port’s aim to be environmentally friendly.

The Port is an ideal location for renewable energy projects and Shoreham Port has identified this as an important growth area for the Port. The proposal fits with the other potential renewable energy projects that are being developed relating to solar and wind energy. Ships will be used to transport the fuel to the power station, thereby making good use of the Port. Opportunities locally to use the surplus heat will be explored as part of the regeneration of the harbour area and also as new port facilities are built at Shoreham.

The nation’s electricity generating capacity will be reduced in the near future with both coal and nuclear power stations coming off line. Wind and solar energy will make a positive contribution but aren’t the complete answer. Shoreham Port is looking at all types of renewable energy and is already installing solar and looking at the feasibility of wind energy.

The Government are promoting bio-liquid as part of the mix of renewable energy generation to meet the country’s needs and subsidies are available for it as is the case for other renewable energy projects.

Twenty jobs will be created at the power station. This is a good ratio for the size of the site. It compares well with the adjacent Parker Steel development and also introduces a greater variety of employment into the local economy.

Shoreham has had power stations since 1897. In comparison the existing power station is much bigger at 400MW than the one proposed at 32MW. A variety of liquid fuels will be used. They will meet the sustainability criteria set by OFGEM.

The lease between Shoreham Port and Edgeley Green Power will clearly state that primary vegetable oils like crude and refined palm oil cannot be used as one of the fuels in the plant. Shoreham Port controls everything that enters the Port. Under safety and environmental legislation all cargo is checked and approved by a qualified person before it can enter the Port.

Supply of the proposed fuels will be limited because their supply is determined by other industries. It is recognised that bio-liquid will only have a small but nevertheless important role in meeting the country’s energy needs. Tall oil pitch for example is a by-product of making wood pulp for the paper industry in places like Sweden and Canada. It is the demand for paper that will fix the supply of that type of oil not the energy companies. There is currently plenty of supply on the market for the oils identified by Edgeley Green Power and they are confident this will continue. The Government have acknowledged the potential limit of this type of fuel in their recent policy review and have put a 4% cap on bio-liquid as part of the mix, but we are nowhere near that figure yet.

Shoreham Port has the expertise and experience behind it to be able to handle and monitor the fuels Edgeley Green Power will use. Shoreham Port has a long history of receiving many different cargoes including oil. Oil has been shipped into Shoreham since at least the 1960s.

The proposed site is a suitable location for a power station being close to the existing much larger gas powered station and the new 15,000 square metre Parker Steel processing plant. The design compliments the style and look of the other buildings nearby.

This is an appropriate use of the site, which is currently underused as an occasional open storage space. The site is not ideal as a bulk cargo terminal due to its small size. It is adjacent to an existing power station.

Traffic is a sensitive issue for people living near the Port. Because the fuel will come by ship it has the advantage of a very low number of vehicle movements compared to other types of potential uses. Also, Shoreham Port is developing a port-wide travel plan and can include the staff at this site in the plan, further reducing the impact of the development.

In terms of volume a ship can carry the equivalent to 200 road tankers. Therefore having it on the Port avoids having approximately 2,500 HGVs on the road over a 12 month period.

The air quality report submitted with the application shows that the emissions from the plant will have an insignificant impact. Edgeley Green Power will also have to apply for a permit to operate the plant from the Environment Agency and mitigation measures will have to be agreed with the Environment Agency to ensure emissions are always kept at acceptable levels. There will not be a smell as the fuel will be de-odourised before it arrives at Shoreham and the purpose designed engine house will be properly insulated to minimise noise.

This is not the first of its kind. Two other similar proposed power stations have been approved on other ports for example Portland and Avonmouth. The planning application for a plant in Ealing London was refused because of air pollution from a combination of traffic pollution due to the fuel coming in by road tanker and the fact that the power plant was in an Air Quality Management Area. The site for Edgeley Green Power is not in an Air Quality Management Area and fuel will be delivered by ship.

Rodney Lunn, Chief Executive at Shoreham Port said “we welcome the proposed investment in the Port by Edgeley Green Power, which will give a boost to the nation’s power supply at a time of falling capacity and help continue the growth of the Port and the local economy in a sustainable way. The investment will create jobs for local people and not add significantly to the traffic on local roads. The power station will have an insignificant impact on air quality and will operate under permit from the Environment Agency”.