The company says the aim was create a structure as a gateway to Sheffield, ‘much like the Tinsley Towers’ which were demolished in 2008.
Most of the plant is painted black, but the giant boiler room is clad in polycarbonate which glows orange at night, ‘providing a gentle beacon of light’.
The plant burns 250,000 tonnes of old wood each year. It is a ‘carbon neutral’ source of energy because the amount of carbon dioxide produced from burning is the same as that absorbed by the trees when growing, E.ON says.
The plant produces enough energy to power 40,000 homes. The fires are used to produce steam which drives a turbine generator to produce electricity.
It also supplies hot water to a new district heating network of businesses in the Lower Don Valley, using energy which would otherwise be lost.
E.ON is set to launch a Community Benefit Fund worth up to £25,000 a year to support local projects.