Energy and climate change minister Baroness Verma has officially opened the Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant (REP) today (Friday, November 28).
The ceremony followed a tour of the Boston Road facility and saw a plaque unveiled to mark the occasion
Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant (REP) entered commercial operation in September.
It is a 38MW power plant, generating enough electricity to power 65,000 homes using sustainable fuel sources, while saving 240,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
The plant harnesses energy from the combustion of straw, secured mainly from farms within a 50-mile radius of Sleaford, with a majority from within a 30 mile radius. Ash produced by the plant will be recycled as crop fertiliser.
Peter Dickson, partner and technical director at Glennmont Partners, which own the plant, said: “We are delighted to weclome Baroness Verma to Sleaford REP and officially open our Plant.
“Sleaford REP represents a £165million pound investment – generating an additional £5.7million annually for the local economy.
“It is a win/win project for local jobs, sustainably supporting the local agricultural sector, providing free heat to five local public buildings, whilst primarily generating renewable energy. However, we are also proud of our community work through the well-being agreement with North Kesteven District Council (NKDC) that is delivering £285,000 of funding which includes grants for local community groups and projects, an education programme, as well as apprenticeships.”
He added: “The Plant is the first of its type on the UK and having the minister here demonstrates the high regard the Government has for this beacon plant.”
The Minister was welcomed to Sleaford at the NKDC offices and was joined by local dignitaries including local Stephen Phillips MP, NKDC Leader Coun Marion Brighton, and Mayor of Sleaford Coun Keith Dolby, who is also vice-chairman of Sleaford REP Community Liaison Group.
After taking a tour of the plant and unveiling a commemorative plaque on site to mark the occasion, Baroness Verma said: “Sustainable biomass is a key part of our low carbon energy mix and has the potential to power around eight million homes by 2020. Sleaford REP is a great example of the benefits on offer including jobs and investment in local community projects.”
She added: “I wish the Sleaford Renewable Energy plant every success for the future.”
Sleaford REP was developed by Eco2 and are now subcontracted to run the plant on behalf of owners Glennmont Partners - its chairman, Peter Darwell, said of the official opening: “Today represents a great achievement for all parties involved. Eco2 started developing this project in 2006 and we are delighted to be here today to see it officially opened and successfully generating renewable energy.”
David Williams, chief executive of Eco2 added: “The Sleaford plant was hailed as an exemplar of the green economic progress in the UK and part of the vision for sustainable energy by Prime Minister David Cameron. It is fantastic that it is now making a significant contribution to the local economy of Lincolnshire as well as to national renewable energy targets.”