THE company which planned to frack for gas in Ryedale is aiming to become an energy beacon for the region – creating jobs, training, and research into the latest innovations in energy.

Third Energy dropped plans to frack at Kirby Misperton, following a Government moratorium, but wanted to continue the gas extraction operations across the Vale of Pickering, where the industry began in 1985.

Based in Knapton, the firm’s original plan had seen Kirby Misperton become a frontline in the national battle over fracking, attracting objections from local and national campaign groups such as Frack Free Ryedale and Friends of the Earth, as well as residents and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

Following the Government’s decision to ban fracking, Third Energy was sold to York Energy, and Knapton power station and Knapton Energy One Limited are now run by Third Energy Trading Limited.

The gas sites which generated electricity have since laid dormant for 17 months while the company’s repurposing was considered, and the power station has been mothballed.

Work has now begun to dismantle the old generating house at the Knapton generating site to make room for green energy projects.

Russell Hoare, managing director of Third Energy, said: “The dismantling of the old gas turbine housing and associated equipment is a major milestone for Third Energy and consistent with the transformation that the business has been going through over the last two years.

He added: “The Company is committed to several green energy projects that will make use of the Knapton site and removing the fossil fuel-related equipment from the past is necessary to make room for those green projects.

“We aim to make Knapton an energy beacon for North Yorkshire creating jobs, training, and research into the latest innovations in energy.”

Earlier this year, local anti-fracking campaigner Steve Mason was appointed as a director of Third Energy Trading Limited.

He also works for the green energy company, Wolfland Renewables, who have entered a strategic partnership with Third Energy to help them develop the site.

Steve said: “I have to say that this was not on my radar at the beginning of 2021 and it’s a bit surreal to say the least but so far, the responses within my local network have been very positive, though very surprised.

“We, Wolfland Renewables, were happily surveying schools, colleges and businesses for renewables when this potential project opportunity came forward.”

Steve added: “If we can deploy renewables at Knapton and in doing so, contribute to the UK’s net zero ambitions, then I feel that we have a duty to do just that and provide a greener future for us all.

“This decade will prove to be pivotal in any action needed to help us reduce emissions to tackle climate change. All industries will have to look at ways to transition for a low carbon economy.

“I’m certainly going to give it my best shot and work with the team here to help them deliver projects for an environmentally smart future.”

Steve said dismantling the old equipment was an incredibly exciting time and a real symbolic moment for Ryedale.

“Clearing this site for new energy feels like a momentous day,” he added,

Operations director,Shaun Zablocki said: “The demolition works represent a strange mix of emotions for me as I have worked at the company in various role for 14 years now.

“There is an element of sadness to see something that I have spent a large portion of my professional career maintaining and operating, but in contrast to that, excitement and optimism at the potential for the site to evolve into a modern sustainable energy production facility.”

He added: “This area, and the wider region, need progressive, non-fossil fuelled, energy developments that can stimulate the local economy and help the Country meet its NetZero targets.

“The transition of these assets represents a unique project and opportunity that I am proud to be part of.”