Project Overview

The Wheelabrator Kemsley Generating Station is a combined heat and power facility which will generate up to 49.9 MW (gross) of clean, sustainable electricity to power UK homes and businesses.

The merchant facility will process up to 550,000 tonnes of waste derived fuel per year. It will divert this post-recycled UK waste from landfill or export and use it to create low-carbon energy for the local community.

The facility will also meet the growing need for new power at DS Smith’s Kemsley Paper Mill by providing valuable steam heat to help diversify the mill’s long-term energy requirements.

Since the initial planning application was granted, we’ve identified an opportunity to optimize the design of the facility that will allow it to more efficiently deliver clean energy. By increasing the power output of our turbine, we can deliver significantly higher MWhs of clean, renewable energy without altering the basic design or size of the plant or the amount of fuel the facility will need to manage. Crucially, the technical advances won’t change the size, shape or look of the facility. It will allow us to deliver an estimated increased electrical output of up to 75MW (gross) and 70 tonnes of steam per hour to be used by the mill.

At present, the facility is being constructed under the terms of its existing planning permission granted by Kent County Council in 2012, and to increase the operating generating capacity of the Wheelabrator Kemsley Generating Station to more than 50 MW (gross) means it would then be classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. This would then require a Development Consent Order (DCO) to be granted in order to operate at its increased electrical output. You can find out more about the DCO process here.

The need for new energy

Kemsley Mill was originally built by Edward Lloyd in 1924 to produce newsprint. At that time, its four paper machines were the largest in the world.

Today, the mill has an annual production capacity of around 800,000 tonnes per year of corrugated case material and is the second biggest recovered fibre-based paper operation in Europe. It employs more than 400 people.

A paper mill requires significant heat from steam to dry the paper and electricity to run the machines. Kemsley Mill currently generates much of its own power and steam at two existing on-site plants – one fuelled by gas and the other by waste products from the mill itself.