At the community council meeting on Tuesday, Alf Robertson and Graeme Taylor directors of Agile Energy and Steven Park from Liberty One Communications presented more information about the Energy from Waste plant.
The plant is proposed for a ten-acre site at Thainstone, within the Kintore and District Community Council area. The site is based on the PM4 site and CHP plant of the former paper mill
The directors explained that Agile Energy was founded in 2013 by Ian Skene and Graeme Taylor, who are both local Aberdeenshire entrepreneurs. Alf Robertson, also from Aberdeenshire, joined the business in 2016. The project has been developed using personal resources raising the funding for the planning phase from a group of 35 investors, mostly based in Scotland.
The project has strong support from landlord, Kirkwood Commercial Park. Its purpose is address the pressing need for waste facilities to replace landfill, which will be banned after 2025.
The team explained that the plant would have highly-efficient technology producing 35MWe from 200,000 tonnes of waste. The directors said the operations would be well below allowable emissions. They stated that they had chosen technology that would not produce NOx and the whole operation would be low-carbon.
In addition, the company is working with the University of Aberdeen on carbon capture, turning CO2 into carbonates, providing the base for things like toothpaste and make-up.
They explained their vision is for an integrated energy park with complementary businesses, located together close to the site. The power plant would use 200,000 tonnes of biodegradable residual waste to produce 35MW of electricity and up to 70MW of hot water – enough for 50,000 homes.
The most important thing for Kintore is the heating system. The project has formed a cooperative that will be owned by the community and profits from selling the heat will go back into the community. Agile Energy will give the heat free of charge to the cooperative.
This heat would be delivered in Inverurie, Kintore and Blackburn, supplemented by the use of heat batteries. Hydrogen from the plant could be used for buses, agriculture. There is even interest in the heat enabling the farming of warm water prawns.
A proposal of Application Notice (PoAN) and scoping report was submitted to Aberdeenshire Council in October 2019. The company is currently undertaking a pre-application consultation process and a first phase planning application will follow in April.
The first round of public exhibitions took place in early December and 81 people attended the three events. Steven Park said that the main concerns had been noise, emissions, odour and deliveries of waste. The second round of exhibitions is planned for late March/early April.
The project represents a £200 million investment and it is estimated it will create 300 jobs in construction over 2½ years, followed by 40 permanent jobs and more in support. Additional employment is anticipated in the Local District Heating operation.
In answer to Cllr Lonchay the team explained they had to concentrate on materials that cannot be recycled. Cllr Ford said that building the heat distribution network would be a huge undertaking. Inevitably, therefore, Agile Energy may give the heat away, but by the time it gets distributed it will have considerable costs to bear.