PILKINGTON has announced proposals to develop an “advanced energy facility” at its Cowley Hill site which could see the creation of 15 new jobs.

The plant will be capable of producing 10 megawatts of electricity, 30 per cent which will be used to run the businesses manufacturing operations at the site including the glass coating facility.

The extra power will initially be supplied to the National Grid but the electricity produced could also be made available to businesses which move their operations to Cowley Hill.

The technology used at the plant is one of a new generation known as ‘gasification’.

Electricity is produced from ‘refuse derived fuel (RDF) which is made up of the dry material left over after recyclables have been removed from local waste.

Matt Buckley managing director at Pilkington United Kingdom Limited said: “Our St Helens sites are right at the heart of our UK operations, and we manufacture and process thousands of tons of glass here every year.

“Ours is an energy intensive industry and given the rising cost of gas and electricity and our commitment to reducing environmental impact this type of clean energy generation is vital to ensuring a sustainable future for our business.

“These plans aren’t just about generating energy for Pilkington, building the plant will also act as a catalyst for local business regeneration, offering renewable energy to companies taking space at our Cowley Hill site. This can only help to encourage business growth within our town.

“By supplying excess energy capacity to the National Grid, the facility will also be helping St Helens, as a whole, contribute to the Government’s target of meeting 15 per cent of the UK’s energy demand from renewable sources by 2020.”

Dave Watts MP for St Helens North backed the proposals: “I very much support this application, which demonstrates real commitment to our town. Pilkington United Kingdom Limited is part of the fabric of our community and continues to provide hundreds of jobs for local people.”

A planning application and a detailed environmental impact assessment will be submitted to St Helens Council in January 2015.

The associated public consultation period will run for 21 days from Monday October 27 including an exhibition on Thursday November 6.

People are invited to speak to the team and find out more about the proposals.

This will take place at The Orangery in Victoria Park from 4pm to 8pm.