RWE Innogy Italia has been given the go-ahead for the construction of the 18.7 MW plant which will be commissioned in late 2012 and will use locally produced biomass as a fuel. The project is an important step in the internationalisation of RWE Innogy’s biomass business, says the Germany firm.

“Europe will not achieve its climate targets without biomass,” said Fritz Vahrenholt, Chief Executive Officer of RWE Innogy. “This is why RWE Innogy pursues an integrated biomass strategy across the entire value chain ranging from plantations to pelletising of fresh wood onto the construction and operation of the cogeneration plants.”

RWE Innogy will be the majority owner of the plant, owning 90 per cent of shares in the project with its joint venture partner, Fri-El Green Power. The remaining 10 per cent will be held by Infrastrutture e Gestioni S.p.A.

RWE is investing EUR61 million in the plant, which will be built in Enna, Sicily.

The project partners have signed agreements for the supply of wood from regional eucalyptus tree plantations with over 20 000 hectares. Other local areas that offer opportunities for biomass production include nearby woodlands and unused agricultural areas.