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UK’s first net zero power plant to be built on Teesside

Massive 300-megawatt facility would produce clean electricity by capturing and storing all carbon emissions

Colin Drury
North of England Correspondent
Wednesday 14 July 2021 11:26 BST

The UK’s first ever net zero power station is to be built on Teesside if plans are approved.

The 300-megawatt complex would produce clean electricity by combusting natural gas with oxygen, rather than air, to reduce waste pollution. All carbon emissions would be captured and stored under the North Sea.

The vast scheme – called the Whitetail Clean Energy project and based at the Wilton International industrial site – would create 2,000 jobs during construction and 200 once in operation, proponents say.

It will be developed by Sembcorp Energy UK, which is based in Middlesbrough, and US clean energy firm 8 Rivers Capital.

The two companies hope the site – based within the new Teesside freeport – could be up and running by 2025 if regulatory approval is given.

Reacting to the announcement, politicians across the political spectrum hwelcomed the plans.

Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the plant would a "real game-changer" in helping the UK fight climate change, while adding it would also help "revitalise this key industrial heartland".

Ben Houchen, the Tory Tees Valley Mayor, said: “Whether it’s carbon capture, hydrogen or renewables, Teesside is already leading the way for the rest of the UK to follow and championing these new technologies.

"This project complements what we’re doing…to make Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool an energy powerhouse in this field.”

And Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, called it “great news”.

“I’ve long championed both carbon capture and storage and Teesside as the ideal location for a decarbonisation cluster,” he said. “I’m delighted to see our area once again leading the way with such an innovative project.”

But he added: "It is critical that local people are able to access these jobs, and that they are well-paid. I will be supporting the trade unions and Sembcorp and 8 Rivers to ensure that local people benefit from this announcement.”

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