Biomass plans win executive backing

Plans for a biomass power plant on a brownfield site in the Highlands have been unveiled.

The project at Invergordon would supply the national grid and feature a combined heat and power plant. It would also include a facility for manufacturing wood pellets.

Northern Irish company Balcas wants to build on the former aluminium smelting site at Cromarty Industrial Park and a planning application is expected to be submitted to Highland Council shortly. Highlands and Islands Enterprise has pledged a sum of £5.5 million towards the £24 million scheme, which would create 38 jobs.

The project has also been welcomed by first minister Jack McConnell.

"Scotland's devolved government is determined to support renewable energy for economic and environmental reasons," he said. "Biomass has a vital role to play and this plant will be a major step forward for the industry as well as helping to cut harmful carbon emissions."

McConnell also announced that the executive's £7.5 million biomass support scheme is being opened for expressions of interest in advance of its formal launch at the end of the year.

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