Port of Blyth refocus on growth after £300m biomass plans canned

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Martin Lawlor of Port of Blyth has said that the disappointment of missing out on a £300m biomass power station will not stop the port from moving forward with other developments.

£300m investment plans axed

It was announced in March that North Blyth Energy Ltd, owned by parent company RES, was ceasing work on the development due to the government’s “inconsistent support for dedicated biomass energy”.  According to plans, the company claimed that the site would provide enough low carbon electricity for some 170,000 UK homes.

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman insisted that the UK remains “one of the most attractive places to invest in renewable energy”.

Martin Lawlor, Chief Executive at Port of Blyth, said: “I can’t deny it’s disappointing but we’ve seen it coming for a number of months.”  He continued: “I genuinely feel for the region and the port because it was going to bring 50 jobs, economic activity, electricity-generating capacity, all sorts of things that are important to the region.”

Refocus on growth

Despite this setback, Port of Blyth have already experienced record turnover last year of around £17.5m, up from £17m in 2012.  Operating profit has grown to £0.9m and throughput has risen to around 1.7m tonnes, an increase of 0.4m on the previous year.  Blyth is now firmly established as a significant hub for servicing the offshore energy sector as a whole, supported by a rise in offshore energy-related trade.

Work has begun on the first phase of a £5m fuel storage facility for the marine industry in partnership with Geos Group.  Another scheme involves the conversion to biomass of Lynemouth Power in 2015.  This growth has left Lawlor with reasons to be positive.

Martin Lawlor added : “We have a very diverse trade base. RES was work that we hadn’t got but that five-hectare development site is immediately adjacent to our deep-water terminal and remains a very good investment opportunity.”

For more information, help or advice please contact Andrew Davison on 0191 211 7950.