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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008, 12:07 GMT
Green power station site opened
Mr Salmond officially opened the biomass plant

First Minister Alex Salmond has officially opened a 90m biomass power station near Lockerbie.

Steven's Croft - owned and operated by E.ON - is the largest wood-fired facility of its kind in the UK.

Mr Salmond toured the site and then switched on a meter which measures megawatts, carbon dioxide and the number of homes receiving energy.

Mr Salmond said the power station would help to put Lockerbie on "Scotland's renewable energy map".

He said the facility would have a major impact nationwide.

Scotland's renewable potential is immense - enough to meet our energy requirements many times over
Alex Salmond
First minister

"At a stroke, Steven's Croft more than doubles Scotland's biomass electricity generating capacity from 39 to 83 megawatts," he said.

"It is proof that not only can we generate power from materials previously seen as waste, we can create good quality jobs and improve the sustainable management of our forests.

"The power plant will produce enough green energy, from the surrounding forests, to supply up to 70,000 homes - more than 17 times the population of Lockerbie."

Mr Salmond said it could be part of moves to make the country self-sufficient in green energy.

"Scotland's renewable potential is immense - enough to meet our energy requirements many times over," he added.

The plant converts waste from the wood industry into energy

"Biomass is a growing component of the mix.

"Steven's Croft power station is a great showcase for the role biomass can play in a cleaner, greener Scotland."

E.ON climate and renewables chief executive Frank Mastiaux said he was pleased the first minister had opened the "pioneering project".

"We need a mix of energy sources such as biomass if we're going to succeed in ensuring a secure supply of electricity to keep the lights on while reducing carbon emissions," he said.

"That's why we're taking the lead and building projects like Steven's Croft, which represents part of a billion pound investment that we're making in the development of renewable energy in the UK over the next five years."

'Great news'

The Conservative MP for the area, David Mundell, has also welcomed the official opening.

He said: "It is great to see this area once again leading at the forefront of power technology - just as Chapelcross did 50 years ago.

"With the closure of Chapelcross, I am delighted that we still have energy production in the region and all the expertise that brings with it.

"This site is creating 50 jobs at Steven's Croft and is supporting 250 more and it is great news that the timber is being sourced locally."

Noise warning during plant tests
20 Jul 07 |  South of Scotland
Renewable energy plans unveiled
15 Jun 07 |  South of Scotland
Farmers speculate on biomass boom
14 Jun 07 |  South of Scotland
Work begins on bio power station
27 Jan 06 |  Scotland
Power plan aims to generate jobs
12 Oct 05 |  Scotland

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