Forth Energy has submitted planning applications to develop biomass powered energy plants in Dundee, Grangemouth, Leith and Rosyth. These power stations would be burning wood fuel to produce electricity. The joint electricity production of the plants is estimated to be up to 500M, which according to Forth Energy amounts to 14% of Scotland’s electricity demands. Forth Energy mentions the advantages of the proposed plants to the selected towns in terms of employment, training opportunities and a contribution to Scotland’s energy mix.
Biomass technology is already in use in a power station at Steven’s Croft, near Lockerbie so the technology seems to be well established. However there might be some questions concerning the sustainability of the scale of some of some of the proposed plants, or the fact that all of proposed plants are to be build in built-up areas. One area of particular concern can be the sourcing of the wood for burning. If most of the wood is going to be imported from abroad, what will be the carbon footprint attached to importing this wood for burning up in Scotland and what will be the impact on the communities where the wood is sourced? All of these are questions to be asked.
The Kirk has no objection to the biomass proposals submitted by Forth Energy since they are on the whole consistent with the views expressed by the General Assembly; however, these proposals have caused concern from a number of local groups including local congregations. Their concerns are listed in the Greener Leith website.
I would encourage everyone with an interest in these issues to get involved in the debate by asking questions, checking the websites listed, lobbying and using your vote.