£8m renewable energy plant in Cradley Heath

A BLACK Country firm is to create an £8m renewable energy power plant after securing a lease on a 1.25-acre plot in Cradley Heath.

Intervate plans to set up the 3.5 megawatt power plant at the Portersfield Industrial Estate. The plant will be powered by the gasification of waste wood.

When fully operational, before the end of 2013, the plant will produce enough electricity each year for 8,500 homes, with the potential to heat 4,000 homes as well.

Intervate has plans to build a further six similar plants in the West Midlands and the Welsh borders in the next five years.

Each plant will use up to 25,000 tonnes a year of waste wood, which otherwise would have gone to landfill, as well as waste paper and cardboard which is no longer capable of being recycled.  The advanced gasification technology ensures a highly efficient conversion of the biomass material into electricity, and is supported by the government as part of its renewable energy initiative.

The seven-strong firm is set to recruit a further 15 people to help operate the Portersfield Industrial Estate plant.  Recruitment for positions, including materials handling operatives, process technicians and administrative support, will start early next year.

Intervate was founded in 2008 by three directors, with a combined experience of more than 60 years in the waste management and renewable energy businesses, and in addition to operating renewable energy from biomass power plants, the firm also provides research and consultancy in waste treatment and power generation to other companies across Europe.

Bill Lilly, one of the directors in charge of renewable energy power generation, said: “With planning permission and operating permits already in place, securing the long term lease of our Cradley Heath premises was one of the final hurdles to overcome.”

Andrew Wynne, a partner in the Wolverhampton commercial property department at law firm FBC Manby Bowdler, advised Intervate on securing the 20-year lease.

He said: “Intervate is another shining example of a Black Country company poised for success, by combining leading edge technology with entrepreneurial spirit.”

“I am grateful to Andrew Wynne and his team at FBC Manby Bowdler for handling this extremely professionally.  We can now start to assemble and test the plant and then look to fill our new positions, with a view to operating at full efficiency towards the end of next year,” added Mr Lilly.

“At present, there is a real lack of demand for waste wood in the UK, much of which is going needlessly to landfill sites.  However, by using it to generate green energy, we can help change this situation.”

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