SEPA to hold biomass Q&A in Markinch

Ian Gaunt
Ian Gaunt

Two community councils have joined forces to hold a public meeting to discuss noise and emissions issues relating to the new biomass plant.

Markinch and North Glenrothes community groups have confirmed that Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)officials Linda James from Fife’s operational team and David Fisher, technical support unit will address the meeting and field questions from residents.

Ian Gaunt plant manager of the £200 million RWE Innogy-owned facility, will also attend, while representatives of paper manufacturer Tullis Russell have also been invited.

Noise concerns have continued, mainly from residents living in the Prestonhall area closest to the plant.

The biomass facility is now running at full capacity though Mr Gaunt admits that the twice revised commissioning period, which was most recently due to end in September, has once again been put back to December, causing a number of venting and start-up noise issues.

“The plan is to have the plant operating at a continuous full base load of fuel which would mean just two or three ‘outages’ or stops per year.

‘‘But in the last few months we’ve had to come off production every other weekend, causing a temporary noise issues, mainly venting,” he explained.

“We are in the process of minimising the start up process and the noise associated with that and have a task group already working to deal with those issues.”

Mr Gaunt added that continuous sound monitoring has been conducted at several homes in an attempt to determine the cause of the concern.

But the Gazette can reveal several noise complaints have come when the plant was non-operational fuelling speculation that problems are emanating from other, as yet unidentified, source.

RWE Innogy now anticipate signing full commercial contracts early in new year.

The joint public meeting organised by Markinch and North Glenrothes Community Councils is to take place at 252 Memorial Hall, Betson Street, Markinch on Monday, October 27 from 7.00 p.m.

It’s the fourth such public meeting this year as work continues at Scotland’s biggest biomass combined heat and power (CHP) facility to complete a commissioning period by the end of 2014.

This state-of-the-art power plant already operates commercially with an installed capacity of up to 65 megawatts and supplying up to 120 tonnes of industrial steam per hour to meet Tullis Russell’s manufacturing needs. Commissioning has already been put back from May to September and again to December as work continues.