Teesside chosen for UK's first net zero emissions power plant

Image source, Sembcorp UK

Image caption,

Wilton on Teesside is home to manufacturing companies and industrial businesses

Plans for the first power station in the UK with net zero emissions have been announced.

The natural gas plant at Wilton International on Teesside will capture and store carbon emissions offshore.

Middlesbrough's Sembcorp Energy UK and US clean energy firm 8 Rivers Capital, who are behind the project, said it could create up to 2,000 jobs during construction and 200 during operation.

Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said it was a "real game-changer".

It was a "significant step forward in the UK's fight against climate change" and supported efforts to "revitalise this key industrial heartland", she said.

'Ideal location'

The Whitetail Clean Energy project will use a process which combusts natural gas with oxygen, rather than air, and uses carbon dioxide in a fluid state, instead of steam, to drive turbines.

A spokesman for the project said the process will eliminate all air emissions, including traditional pollutants and carbon dioxide, which will be captured and stored under the North Sea.

He said if given regulatory approval, the facility could produce about 300 megawatts of electricity per hour and be in operation by 2025.

The UK government has put £6m into the project since 2012.

Stockton North's Labour MP Alex Cunningham said Teesside was the "ideal location for a decarbonisation cluster", but it was "critical" the resulting jobs were well paid and open to local workers.

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