Scottish Energy Minister opens UK’s largest Biomass Combined Heat and Power Plant


A major addition to the Scottish Government’s plan for a more sustainable energy future in Scotland was reached with Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, opening RWE’s Markinch Biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant in Glenrothes, Fife.

Constructed and operated by one of Europe’s leading renewables’ operators, RWE, the state of the art plant replaces the former 1950s coal and gas fired CHP power station on the site of premium paper and board manufacturer Tullis Russell. It represents a reduction in fossil fuel related carbon dioxide emissions by around 250,000 tonnes per annum, delivering a major contribution to the UK’s renewable energy generation targets.

The new facility is already providing all of Tullis Russell’s electricity and steam requirements, with excess electricity generation being fed into local networks.

Paul Coffey, Chief Operating Officer at RWE Innogy said: “RWE has taken biomass combined heat and power technology in UK to the next level. The Markinch plant is providing Tullis Russell with a state of the art low carbon power source, and exporting enough energy into the local network to power around 45,000 homes. With a multi-million pound investment and over 2.6 million man hours spent constructing the plant we’re delighted it is fully operational and has surpassed efficiency targets for energy production and emissions.

He added: “The partnership approach and collaboration between Tullis Russell, the Scottish Government, Fife Council and RWE has also been fundamental to the success of this project. Over 600 temporary jobs were created during the construction process and around 40 additional permanent jobs have been created at Markinch and the Offsite Fuel Processing Facility at Cardenden.”

The Markinch Biomass CHP Plant has also supported the safeguarding of 500 jobs at papermakers Tullis Russell, which has been a major employer in Fife for 206 years.

Chris Parr, Chief Executive of Tullis Russell Group said: “This has been a major project for Fife and for our business, the importance of which cannot be overstated. The plant delivers a modern, economical and sustainable source of renewable power for Tullis Russell, reduces our carbon emissions by 72% and helps to safeguard the future of the 500 jobs at our Markinch base.
He added: “The project has also been great for Scotland, building on the strong reputation it has for hosting world class renewable energy projects and adding to its growing armoury of generating renewable energy assets.”
The project was financed, in part, with an £8.1m Regional Selective Assistance grant from the Scottish Government and Forestry Commission Scotland has also helped underpin the investment with a long term contract for timber supply to the plant, providing 750,000 tonnes of timber over the next ten years.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “I am delighted to open the Markinch CHP biomass plant. This is the largest of its kind in the UK and is not only an asset to Scotland but will also help us deliver our target of 11% of non-electrical heat demand by renewable sources by 2020. With the help of a Scottish Enterprise grant this plant has also helped safeguard 500 jobs in the local papermakers, Tullis Russell, which has been open over 200 years.”

Construction on the plant commenced in 2009 and was fully completed in 2014.