Biomass industry “playing with fire” say campaigners as Ironbridge power station suffers blaze

Biofuelwatch media release – for immediate use 4th February 2014

Media contacts:
Almuth Ernsting – 01316232600
Duncan Law – 07958635181

Biomass industry “playing with fire” say campaigners as Ironbridge power station suffers blaze

Today’s fire at Ironbridge biomass power station [1] adds to the growing list of converted biomass power stations that have suffered major fires in recent years. Of three coal-to biomass conversions so-far undertaken in the UK, two have now experienced serious fires. In February 2012, wood pellet dust combusted at Tilbury power station in Essex, the UK’s first conversion, causing a major fire and resulting in shut-down for several months. It was subsequently closed permanently. [2]

Biofuelwatch co-director Almuth Ernsting said: “The biomass industry is playing with fire and is repeatedly getting burned. One plant after another is suffering explosions and fires, and Ironbridge is just the latest casualty. It’s clear that biomass conversions not only threaten the climate, forests and communities globally, but pose serious safety risks too. Industry and Government are forging ahead with biomass plans at such a pace that the technology can’t keep up, and people are being put at risk through an irresponsible dash for biomass.”

In November 2012 the converted Gelderland power station in the Netherlands also suffered a large explosion, [3] as did Vattenfall’s co-fired Amager plant in Copenhagen in the same month. [4] In August 2012 Dong Energy’s plant, also in Copenhagen, suffered a similar fate. [5]

Biofuelwatch campaigner Duncan Law added: “Policy makers and investors need to recognise that big biomass is a massive risk on multiple levels, and that basing renewable energy policy around it will only lead to further disaster. Fires and explosions of pellets in power plants elsewhere have led to serious injuries and deaths and it’s only luck that nobody has been hurt or killed in Ironbridge.”