Huelva, Badajoz, Burgos, Cáceres, Leon and Ciudad Real are the provinces selected by Ence as the locations of six of the nine plants included in the company's 2011-2015 plan. The remaining three will be located in Galicia, although their exact locations have still not been decided.
According to the Ence's CEO, Ignacio Colmenares, earlier this year the company submitted a specific investment plan for the region to the Galicia regional government, which "could involve the installation of up to 130 MW of renewable biomass capacity, involving a total investment of €450 million, around 2,600 new jobs, and the purchase of 1.3 million tonnes of Galician eucalyptus".
The excitement aroused by this announcement (issued by the company in late March) is associated with the interest of several areas in Galicia to host the biomass plants. As Colmenares explains, this project, "directly linked to the Ence's activity in the Galician forestry sector and cellulose production at our Pontevedra complex, would consist of building a 50-MW plant at the complex, another 40-MW plant in the Santiago-Pontevedra corridor, and a final installation of 40 MW at A Costa da Morte, or A Mariña de Lugo, which would be developed with the direct involvement of the Galician forestry sector, thereby contributing to the generation of direct income in this area".
The Department for Rural Affairs is already preparing an order to regulate new tree plantations to supply these and other biomass plants with both exotic species such as eucalyptus and paulownia, and native species (chestnut and oak).
Ignacio Colmenares believes "it is necessary that Galicia certifies over 70% of its forest area if the importance and economic sustainability of its forest sector are not to be seriously compromised within two or three year". Ence has announced that it will only accept certified wood from its suppliers as from 2014.
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