Kent heat and power plant becomes UK’s first energy-from-waste CfD facility

Kemsley power station is designed to process 550,000 tonnes of waste per year to produce both electricity and heat

A combined heat and power plant in Kent has become the first operational energy-from-waste facility to receive payments under the government’s Contracts for Difference clean energy subsidy scheme, the Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC) confirmed this week.

The Kemsley power plant, which is designed to process up to 550,000 tonnes of non-recyclable household waste from across Kent and the South East each year, is expected to boast a final installed power capacity of 45MW, in addition to generating heat for a neighbouring paper mill.

Developed by energy-from-waste specialist Wheelabrator Technologies, the combined heat and power (CHP) plant is set to generate enough electricity to meet the needs of over 100,000 UK homes and businesses, with planning consent also being sought to further expand capacity to 75MW in future.

Heat produced by the facility will be used to supply steam power to the paper recycling mill, which is operated by DS Smith and is the largest of its kind in the UK, according to the LCCC, which manages the Contracts for Difference (CfD) allocated under the government’s scheme.In order to start receiving payments under the CfD, project developers must submit evidence that at least 80 per cent of the project has begun generating power, a milestone known as Operational Condition Precedent (OCP).

The Wheelabrator Kemsley CHP facility was first awarded its CfD during the government’s first allocation round in 2015, and started formally receiving subsidy payments under the contract on 17 July 2020, LCCC confirmed on Wednesday

“It is great to see this project now generating sustainable heat and power,” said James Rushton, LCCC’s director of scheme delivery. “The CfD scheme has played an important role in supporting development at the site. I was personally at their financial close in 2016 and I am now pleased to congratulate the plant on achieving its OCP milestone. The LCCC looks forward to continue working with Wheelabrator Kemsley as it contributes to a diverse, sustainable energy mix for the UK.”

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