Plans for a new major biomass power station at the Port of Grangemouth have been given the go-ahead by the Scottish government.

The facility will be created through a joint venture between Forth Ports Limited and SSE known as Forth Energy, and once completed will form Scotland's largest wood-fuelled heat and power plant. Ministers have given the green light to the £465 million site which is expected to have the capacity to heat the equivalent of 1,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools once completed.

Forth Energy is currently involved with proposals at two other similar sites in Dundee and Rosyth which would see it provide £1.1 billion investment in renewable energy. Officials behind the joint venture believe that, once complete, the overall energy capacity would reach 300 MW electricity and 260 MW heat. The plans are designed to change the way electricity is generated, placing the Scottish towns and cities at the forefront of achieving carbon reduction targets.

The Grangemouth site is expected to have the capacity to generate 120 MW of electricity which will be able to serve 92 per cent of the Falkirk Council area. Situated on an 18-hectare site at the town's port, building work is due to begin a year after the design and engineering part is complete. Officials have earmarked 2017 as a potential production date when the facility will be up and running.

There is also set to be a major boost to the economy with around 500 jobs due to be created during the building phase of the development while 70 permanent positions will be made available once it is completed.

Calum Wilson, managing director of Forth Energy, said: "This consent [from the Scottish government] creates the opportunity for us to develop a combined heat and power plant that will generate low-carbon renewable electricity and heat from wood fuel shipped to the plant, while delivering significant benefits to the Grangemouth economy.

"We will now examine the details of the decision and look forward to engaging with the Scottish government, Falkirk Council and the local community to take our plans forward."

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