There has been lots of coverage of the dubious claims made by opponents of Powerfuel’s planned energy recovery facility at Portland Port, and I thought it helpful to provide a considered counter view.

As one of the owners of Manor Renewable Energy, which employs over 70 people at our Portland Port facility, I know first-hand the challenges that businesses face trying to expand and thrive in the area.

We really hope that misinformation and fear based propaganda will not prevent the Powerfuel project from going ahead and bringing all its benefits to the area.

We believe that Powerfuel’s project to build a 15MW power station on a brownfield site within the port, that is recognised as a ‘Key Employment Site’, is vital to the future growth and continued success of the port, and would help us and other tenants to expand the number of local people we currently employ.

The maritime services sector is extremely important to the area and is a vital part of the local economy and the south west region.

Portland Port can become a major economic regeneration catalyst for the local area, but only if we can access more electrical power within the port.

There is currently only 4.2 MW of spare power capacity - less than a single small cruise ship requires, let alone for expanding or indeed new tenants.

There is a clear, demonstrable shortage of capacity and neither the port nor local government can afford the substantial financial investment required to secure the additional supply across the causeway.

Shore power will not only enable the port to expand. As an ex-Merchant Navy Officer, I am also well aware of the significant emissions ships produce when in Port, which is currently unavoidable unless they can plug into shore power - which the ERF will provide.

With the ability to provide shore power, rather than increasing air pollution, it is most likely to improve overall air quality as cruise ships will no longer be required to run their diesel generators while berthed.

Our team has looked carefully at any potential negative impacts of the ERF. Our firm belief is that the plant has several layers of protections and that air quality in the area will not worsen.

Many opponents have said that tourism will suffer as a result. As mariners, we know ports - some of the most beautiful places in the world have working, industrial ports as their entry point, some with power stations, and it has zero impact on their tourist sector.

Visitors do not come for the beauty of the port they arrive at. The availability of shore power will be a major incentive for more cruise ships to include Portland on their itinerary.

We have invested heavily in Portland and our work in renewable technologies and want to help kick-start the development of a cleantech cluster at the port. Dorset’s current method of waste disposal (landfill or exporting to other ERFs in the UK and abroad) is not sustainable and the Powerfuel proposal will significantly reduce emissions, provide jobs and much-needed energy for the Port to expand and have a bright future.

I understand why people who have retired to Portland may object to this project. I only hope that the future of our economy and local young people’s prospects are equally considered and that we don’t again lose out on a multi-million-pound local investment because a vocal minority have decided they don’t want it.


Managing Director Manor Renewable Energy Ltd