BOSSES at a North Yorkshire power station are set to discover whether they can build a huge carbon-busting biomass generator – creating hundreds of local jobs.

A Government department is to run the rule over proposals to create a renewable energy plant at Drax Power Station, near Selby, providing enough electricity to power more than half-a-million homes.

Drax Biomass (Selby) Ltd has now applied to be allowed to develop the 290-megawatt Ouse Renewable Energy Plant facility following “positive” public consultation earlier this year.

If it succeeds, work could begin towards the end of 2010 – leading to 850 jobs opening up during a construction process lasting between three and three-and-a-half years and 150 roles once it becomes operational.

The plans will now be analysed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which will liaise with Selby District Council, North Yorkshire County Council, the Environment Agency and Natural England, as well as other local bodies, before reaching a decision.

Drax has drawn up the scheme together with Siemens Project Ventures and said the plant would save 1.85 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year as part of a £2 billion blueprint to build three generators at various sites.

The Selby power station supplies seven per cent of the National Grid’s electricity and a Drax spokeswoman said: “We have been through the pre-application stage and held a series of public exhibitions which received very positive local feedback.

“We are hopeful of a decision early next year, but if approved, work would not be expected to begin until the end of next year or in early 2011.”

Drax parish council chairman Ian Fenton said: “We are reasonably content with these proposals and we certainly have no complaints about the way we have been kept informed, although there are some traffic issues which we hope will be addressed. The plant would be on the far side of the power station from the village so we would probably not see a great deal of it. I would prefer to see something like this rather than wind turbines.”

The application can be viewed at Drax Sports and Social Club and the Access Selby office at Selby’s Market Cross Shopping Centre.