£480 MILLION in funding has been secured for a proposed energy plant at Lostock Gralam through a new joint venture.

Tata Chemicals Europe has reached an agreement with ‘Lostock Sustainable Energy Plant Limited’ (LSEP) joint venture, made up of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and FCC Environment Group.

LSEP will fund, own, construct and operate the new energy from waste plant at Lostock, with Tata remaining a key long-term participant.

The plant was granted planning permission in 2012, which will see the old coal-fired Tata power station removed to make way.

Proposals say the plant will burn 600,000 tonnes of waste which would have otherwise gone to landfill, generating renewable electricity to power in the region of 110,000 homes and offsetting more than 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

It will also supply sustainably produced steam to TCE’s soda ash operations.

Meanwhile, TCE will supply sodium bicarbonate to LSEP in a long term arrangement, supporting the long-term future of sodium bicarbonate production at Lostock.

Fraser Ramsay, TCE’s project director, said: “We’re delighted to have reached agreement with LSEP for them to fund, own, build and operate the Lostock Energy from Waste Plant.

“We recognised the need for strong third-party support to take this project forward and, through this agreement, have secured leading energy from waste expertise to make the plant a reality.

“At £480m, this is one of the largest investments at the Lostock site since soda ash manufacturing commenced in 1907 and continues a rich industrial history of innovation and job creation in Northwich.

“We hope, by working with industry leading organisations, that concerns previously expressed about the project by members of the local community will be alleviated.”

The plant will be built on behalf of LSEP by a consortium led by CNIM, an international specialist in waste treatment and waste-to-energy solutions.

The construction process will consist of two phases, starting with a 15-month enabling works program followed by a 3-year building phase including 6-months of commissioning.

Plant operations are scheduled to commence in the second quarter of 2023.

FCC, alongside contributing to the funding of the project, will operate the plant and source the waste used to generate electricity and steam.

It has more than 200 waste treatment and renewable energy sites in the UK, operating three energy from waste plants with planning permission for further two.

Its chief executive, Paul Taylor, said: “Today is a milestone for the waste treatment industry here in the UK which is facing a severe capacity gap for the treatment of unrecyclable residual waste.

“We already successfully operate a number of plants here in the UK generating some 102 MW of green energy with a new plant due to come on stream in Edinburgh later this summer.

“So, this development forms an important part of our strategy to continuously invest in the waste related infrastructure that is crucial for this country’s ability to process waste and power homes across the UK both today and in the future.

“We also maintain our strategy to strengthen FCC’s UK position as EfW owner, supplier and UK operator.”

The scheme is set to create hundreds of jobs during construction and around 50 permanent once operational.