Hopes city’s £200m green power plant can overcome challenges
The £200m Energy Works complex in Hull
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 7 Mar 2019
When anything is done for the first time, it’s fair to expect a few hiccups along the way.
Hull’s £200m Energy Works project, unfortunately, is no exception to the rule.
Project manager Chris Wilcock himself admitted the construction of the city’s green energy plant had not been without its challenges.
But now, just as the curtain was expected to be raised at the plant after its opening date has been pushed back by months, the main builder of Energy Works has been thrown off the project.
The owners of Energy Works said terminating the contract of M+W was designed to “guarantee the future of the plant,” and came in response to “significant delays” at the Cleveland Street site.
They would not, however, be drawn into answering the question which is now on everybody’s minds – when is the £200m waste to energy plant expected to get up and running?
From the outside at least, Energy Works looks all but complete.
But what remains a mystery to all but a handful of people involved in the project is - when will it open?
Strikes and safety fears
On January 27 last year, around 300 workers walked off the Energy Works site amid fears relating to health and safety.
It was understood to be the fourth protest of its kind in a matter of weeks.
Just days later, on January 30, a peaceful protest was staged outside the site.
Workers gathered at the junction with Cleveland Street and Dalton Street at 5.30am to protest against the current concerns and relationship with the principal contractor, M+W.
It is that same company that has now been removed from the project at the final hour.
Problems at Energy Works did not end there. Last April, a water leak at the plant sparked a fresh walkout from workers.
And just a month later, a fresh strike surfaced amid allegations that more than a dozen contractors had been made redundant.
'In the industry we are in, you face challenges'
Questions continued to swirl around the opening date of Energy Works until last December, when project manager Chris Wilcock went on BBC radio to discuss its future.
He said: “In the industry we are in, you face challenges when you put equipment together for the first time.
“This is the first time in the UK this configuration has been put together…we are now at advanced stages of commissioning.”
Construction at Energy Works power plant in east Hull. (Spencer Group)
Originally aimed at opening in late 2018, a new date of spring 2019 was given during the interview.
It was therefore a surprise when news broke on Tuesday that M+W had been removed from the project.
Bosses of Energy Works said a “recovery plan” is now in place in a bid to push forwards with the work.
What next for Energy Works?
The size of the task that awaits the company tasked with picking up from where M+W unceremoniously left off though, remains unclear.
The figures behind Energy Works make for fantastic reading.
Producing enough clean energy to power 40,000 homes, it hopes to reduce the amount of waste heading to landfill by 240,000 tonnes.
On the face of it however, one of the UK’s largest renewable energy facilities has hit a rather large stumbling back.
Only time will tell what the future has in store for Hull’s £200m Energy Works.