Eon fully converts UK power plant to biomass

London, 18 March (Argus) — German utility Eon has converted a second unit at its UK Ironbridge power plant from coal to biomass, meaning that the facility is fully converted, despite declining to confirm its plans last year.The newly-converted unit — unit 1 — is scheduled to have 300MW of capacity available from 23 March, according to the company’s generation availability report. Unit 2 has been generating with wood pellets since 21 February at 200MW, but has also ramped up to 300MW availability. The unit’s full capacity is 450MW.

“Work is continuing to return the other unit to service following conversion,” Eon said. “The rating and availability will be in line with the Remit publication — currently showing 300MW for each unit.”

Eon announced plans to convert Ironbridge unit 2 in January last year. The utility took both units off line during the conversion but said its priority was to convert one unit only. The extra capacity could add another 1mn t/yr wood pellet demand to UK consumption this year.

Ironbridge will retain flexibility to burn up to 20pc coal, Eon said. The units will each receive 1.5 renewable obligation certificate (Roc) for each MWh of electricity produced until 1 April and 1 Roc/MWh thereafter. But subsidies will fall to 0.6 Roc/MWh from 1 April if it utilises its 20pc coal flexibility.

Eon has no plans to retrofit Ironbridge to allow it to continue generating past 2015 after it has used up its remaining hours under the EU’s large com
bustion plant directive. German utility RWE recently received planning and environmental approval to carry out works to allow its 750MW Tilbury plant, also in the UK, to continue operating.