Rio Tinto, Kaiser Aluminum, try greening Wales
Last September, Anglesey Aluminium, owned by Rio Tinto and Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation, closed its aluminium smelter off the north west coast of Wales, causing major unemployment in the area.
Rio Tinto tried to attract unemployed workers to a new smelter in Abu Dhabi (see 'Former Anglesey Aluminium workers targeted by overseas smelting plant' below).
Now the company is trying to green its image by proposing a biomass power plant on Anglesey, backed by the local government.
Have Your Say - Biomass plan approved
Geraint Jones - North Wales Chronicle
27 January 2010
A BIOMASS plant that could create up to 600 jobs on Anglesey has taken a step closer after the island's council approved its construction.
Council leader Councillor Clive McGregor said that the 299 mega watt plant at Penrhos in Holyhead was an environmentally friendly way to provide much needed jobs.
"We have to find new and green ways of providing power, and biomass is twice as efficient as nuclear power and four times as coal buring stations," he said.
"The plant ticks all of the boxes and we hope that the Energy Secretary will listen to us."
Energy and Climate Secretary Ed Milliband will decide whether to grant planning permission for the plant, which was approved by an extraordinary meeting of Anglesey Council on January 21.
The £600 million plant would create around 600 jobs during the 32 month construction and 100 permanent jobs once building is complete.
The council recommended that a carbon capture scheme is considered to reduce the amount of carbon dioxcide returned into the atmosphere.
Other recommendations included imposing off-site crop planting to mitigate the visual impact of the plant's tallest buildings and building a jetty that could be used by the plant and cruise ships.
However, environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth Cymru Neil Crumpton said that a 10MW plant would be more suitable after closure of Anglesey Aluminium, and that wind power could bring up to 40,000 jobs to the island.
"The Welsh Assembly Government should pioneer an industrial strategy for Anglesey to secure jobs," he said.
"Ironically, Wylfa Inland is one of the best locations in the UK for the manufacture of renewable energy components, such as wind and tidal turbines."
He added although the carbon capture scheme does not go far enough, and the CHP (Combined Heat and power) scheme where heat generated by the plant is used to supply offices and homes is not likely to be introduced due to a lack of incentive to lay the necesssary pipelines.
Biomass (wood chip) power station on Anglesey
27 January 2010
A planning application has just been passed by Anglesey County Council for a wood burning power station rated at 299MW. The final decision will be made by DECC.
The company behind the proposal is a subsidiary of Anglesey Aluminium Metal Limited, jointly owned by Rio Tinto and Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation.
The power station would be fuelled primarily with imported wood chips and wood pellets and the operator estimates they would use 2.4 million tonnes of biomass (wood) per year. By comparison, this is more than one quarter of the entire UK roundwood production. At least one million hectares of tree plantation would be required to feed this one power station alone.
The waste heat from the power station will be dumped into the sea - there are no plans to make use of the heat for other industrial processes or to supply a district heating scheme.
Burning imported biomass on this scale and inefficiently (no CHP) is a deeply flawed response to climate change.
The operator will be able to claim Renewable Obligations Certificates for the electricity generated and substantially increase their income. As electricity consumers we are all paying for this.
IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY SENT IN AN OBJECTION AND WOULD LIKE TO DO SO, PLEASE USE THE EMAIL ALERT BELOW, WHICH SENDS TO THE RESPONSIBLE OFFICER IN DECC.
PLEASE INCLUDE THE REFERENCE NO. AND TITLE IN ANYTHING YOU SEND:
Application No 46C13E/1 - BIOMASS GENERATING STATION ATPENRHOS, HOLYHEAD
The email alert is at: http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/angleseyoct2009.php
Former Anglesey Aluminium workers targeted by overseas smelting plant
Aaron Haley - North Wales Chronicle
21 October 2009
FORMER workers at Anglesey Aluminium are being targeted to help staff a new smelting plant in Abu Dhabi.
The United Arab Emirates plant, which is set to begin production in April 2010, are looking to bring in experienced workers from around the globe to man what looks set to become one of the largest aluminium plants in the world.
More than 300 people lost their jobs when the Anglesey Aluminium plant near Holyhead closed last month.
Former workers face now face relocating 4,000 miles away to the Middle East in their search for employment.
Despite plans being submitted last week for a new power station to be built on Anglesey, which if approved would create around 100 new permanent jobs, many of the former workers have struggled to find new employment after the plant's closure, and could be forced to consider the move abroad.
A spokesman for Unite the Union, which has been supportive of the axed workers, expressed their dissapointment at the situation.
"Anglesey and Gwynedd have suffered greatly.
"They are an excellent workforce, highly skilled, highly motivated and highly flexible - it's very sad that they're having to look as far afield as the United Arab Emirates.
"Anglesey's loss would be their gain."The £3.4 billion plant, backed by the Rio Tinto group which also has a majority holding in Anglesey Aluminium, is set to become the worlds largest single-site aluminium complex, producing around 1.4 million tonnes of aluminium a year.