The new Energy Centre is intended to connect the power plant to a new local heating network currently under construction from December 2018 onwards. It already provides renewable energy to around 100,000 households and steam to a local paper factory.
The cutting-edge Markinch biomass power plant with combined heat and power (CHP) is the jewel in the crown of the Glenrothes Energy Network. The network is a partnership with Fife County Council, Scottish Government and RWE. The scheme represents an investment of around £23.9 million; of which RWE have committed £13.8 million. This investment also includes a grant funding of £8.5 million from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP). The aim of the scheme is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support people living in fuel poverty and provide lower cost, low carbon heat for local industrial and commercial businesses.
The scheme maximizes the opportunities of obtaining heat from the availability of the existing CHP plant and its surplus steam capacity. It is recognised that each district heating scheme is unique in terms of geography and socio-economic factors, and the scheme will allow important lessons to be learned as the Scottish Government seeks to increase the availability of district heating. Like all new district heating schemes the Fife Council one is designed to operate for more than forty years.
With a net capacity of 55 megawatts, the biomass power station supplies power to around 100,000 households in the Markinch district. On top of which, it can produce around 120 metric tons of steam per hour. This is enough to generate around 90 percent of the heating which is to be supplied to households, commercial real estate and Fife Council’s headquarters via the district heating system from the end of 2018 onwards.
RWE has contracted systems provider Vital Energi from the north of England to build the Energy Centre. The district heating system itself is to be constructed by Balfour Beatty, as contracted by Fife Council.
The Scottish media have covered the start of the construction works.