MULTI-MILLION-POUND plans for a renewable energyfuelled power plant have been given the go ahead.

The £150m plant will be built on land west of Koppers UK, in Port Clarence, Stockton, and will generate enough electricity to power more than 50,000 homes.

It may also be used to provide heat to residential and commercial buildings on the Middlehaven site, in Middlesbrough.

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Biomass Power Projects said the scheme would create up to 200 construction jobs and, once operational, 40 people could be employed at peak times.

About 400,000 tonnes of pine kernel shells would be burnt at the 49MW biomass power plant each year.

The fuel, which is a bi-product of the food industry, would arrive from Malaysia in 40,000-tonne vessels once a week, preventing the need for HGV traffic. At Stockton Borough Council’s planning committee meeting yesterday, members voted unanimously in favour of the scheme.

Councillor Jim Beall said: “I think it is quite an exciting development for quite a disadvantaged part of our town.

“For once, an industrial building which has a nice design.”

Councillor Bob Gibson said: “I would like half the jobs to be from the local area. We are getting further and further away from burning fossil fuels, which can’t be a bad thing.”