23/08/2004

NI to be site of new environmentally friendly facility

Northern Ireland is to be the site of the UK’s largest production facility for a new environmentally friendly fuel, it was revealed today.

Department of Trade and Industry Energy Minister, Stephen Timms viewed construction on the new bio fuel pellet plant at Balcas timber processing facility, outside Enniskillen, during a visit to the province today.

The bio fuels pellets, which will be manufactured from sawdust and wood chips from Balcas’ timber processing activities, are amongst Europe’s fastest-growing renewable energy sources. Balcas is building a Combined Heat and Power Plant on its site to provide all its own electricity and heating requirements from the pellets.

Mr Timms said: “Finding new sources of energy and integrating them into our lives are some of the most important challenges we face in coming decades. Balcas is making a significant contribution to meeting these challenges by developing the UK’s largest bio fuel pellet plant here in Fermanagh.

“I am delighted to have been able to provide £2million DTI assistance for the project and I congratulate NIE for its support through the SMART programme. It is particularly encouraging to see industry and Government working together successfully on renewables – this is undoubtedly the way to achieve growth in the sector.”

The Balcas plant will produce 50,000 tonnes of fuel pellets annually, sufficient to provide the energy requirements of 10,000 Northern Ireland homes and to generate enough clean electricity to power all Balcas’ electricity requirements.

The project has also been supported by a £1million interest free loan from the NIE SMART programme.

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