Development of Black Country energy plant to power 500 jobs

Up to 500 jobs are set to be created through the construction of a waste energy plant in Walsall.

The Walsall Energy From Waste facility will be built, owned and operated by energy recovery specialists Encyclis on eight acres of derelict land on Fryers Road. It will work alongside the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and local councils to help export heat to homes in the form of steam or hot water.

The facility will replace the region’s ageing fleet of incinerators which are due to be retired over the coming years. Rubbish will be collected from local and regional waste management firms to power the plant to turn up to 436,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste every year into 49 megawatts of electricity.

Up to 450 jobs will be contracted during the construction phase of the plant and 50 direct jobs once it is fully operational. The target for completion is 2027.

The WMCA had originally stepped in with the offer of a £7.5m investment as part of its brownfield first programme, with access provided by the property team at Frontier Development Capital, but financial support was ultimately not needed.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “This important initiative will power homes here in Walsall at the same time as helping us to maintain our #WM2041 net zero commitment. The Fryers Road site being brought forward by Encyclis is an innovative example of how we can turn waste into energy.

“This plant underlines our burgeoning practical environmental credentials. Whether we’re retrofitting homes to ensure they’re more energy efficient, cutting energy bills for local businesses or making our transport network more sustainable, the West Midlands is leading the way when it comes to the Green Industrial Revolution.

“It’s great news that this scheme is set to create more than 400 local jobs and I look forward to seeing residents benefit from projects like this in the months and years ahead.”

Owen Michaelson, Chief Executive of Encyclis, said: “We thank West Midlands Combined Authority for supporting this project, which was crucial in enabling us to begin preparatory groundworks to transform this brownfield site.
“We are making this investment to provide Walsall and surrounding communities with a state-of-the-art public hygiene facility that will treat the area’s residual waste, generate baseload electricity and open up opportunities for sustainable district heating.

“In doing so, our Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) will directly contribute to economic regeneration, creating skilled jobs and encouraging green innovation.”

Cllr Mike Bird, leader of Walsall Council, said: “Not only will this new development bring clean power to our community but it will also generate employment opportunities within the borough, creating over 50 permanent jobs once complete.

“The new development at Fryers Road adds to Walsall’s exciting regeneration portfolio which is currently underway. As a borough, through substantial inward investment and grant funding, we are seeing an investment of £1.5 billion which aims to generate over 4000 employment opportunities and create 1000 new homes.”