Visitors to Sleaford Leisure Centre can bask in free warmth as the system of supplying of excess heat from the nearby straw biomass power plant goes live.
The district heating system supplies the entire building and was ceremonially switched on last Tuesday thanks to the Beacon Project, a partnership between North Kesteven District Council and Glennmont Partners, who own Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant on Boston Road.
As part of the agreement to build the plant, the £2m infrastructure project offered free heat to five community buildings for 25 years, including the leisure centre, William Alvey Primary School, Sleaford and District Indoor Bowls Club, Sleaford Sports Association at Eslaforde Park (Sleaford Town FC’s ground) and North Kesteven District Council offices.
Members from Glennmont Partners, NKDC, 1Life, William Alvey School pupils, and Sleaford and District Bowls Club met at Sleaford Leisure Centre on Boston Road for the switch-on.
Executive district councillor Richard Wright and Glennmont Partners technical manager Geoff Hoffheinz discussed how significant renewable energy is to local communities. Local school children were also able to watch a short video on how 240,000 tonnes of straw is locally collected and then used in the plant to fuel their school and the leisure centre.
As well as a financial saving of approximately £1.5 million over the 25 years and relying less on fossil fuels, the scheme will add to the 150,000 tonnes of carbon the plant saves each year – enough to power 65,000 homes.
Coun Wright said the project saw the significant investment in the local economy - a £120,000 community fund, adding: “The free heat is a huge boost in our efforts to cut carbon emissions and rely less on non-renewable fuel to heat our facilities.”
Mr Hoffheinz added: “Sleaford REP is our flagship investment project and the district heating system takes the plant’s renewables concept to another level. Overall we believe this is a win-win for all concerned and credit should also be given to the vision and drive of NKDC.”