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Gearing up for energy growth

Major new investment is positioning the Port of Tyne at the leading edge of the growing renewable energy sector again
port of tyne

Wood Pellet

Investing for the future is a vital part of maintaining the Port as a key driver for the economy of the region – and that means investing in services for renewables, explains Chief Executive Officer Andrew Moffat.

As a major hub for coal, the Port of Tyne has played a significant part in the energy generation industry of the UK for many years. However, with more of the UK’s power stations either converting to wood-pellet or co-firing wood-pellet with coal to reduce their environmental impact, the Port has made major investments into its operation and infrastructure to make sure it is fully equipped to handle this invaluable renewable fuel source.

“We have invested over £20m in new facilities to offload, store and transport wood pellets,” Andrew says. “We have also deepened the berths for the larger ships required by the wood-pellet vessels and upgraded the rail link from the Port to the East Coast main line to make onward transport to our power station customers much easier.”

One of the customers relying heavily on the Port is Drax, owner and operator of Drax Power Station in Selby, North Yorkshire. Drax Chief Executive, Dorothy Thompson, sees its relationship with the Port as a pivotal link in its supply chain. “When working at full capacity, our co-firing capability has the potential to save over 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 a year,” she says. “That means it’s already making a major contribution to the UK’s renewable energy targets and, over time, our aim is to transform ourselves into a predominantly renewable energy generator.

“To do this we need to have a strong supply chain to create the most environmentally efficient way of transporting the fuel to the generator, which fundamentally relies on having the right facilities and infrastructure in place. Working with the Port of Tyne and our rail freight partner, GB Railfreight, we’ve created a highly efficient and effective system that will help to power UK plc into the future.”