by Tom McBeth
The UK’s first straw burning renewable energy plant has opened in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.
The Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant (Sleaford REP), which is situated off the A17 between Sleaford and Kirkby-la-Thorpe, is “the first of its kind in the UK” as it burns straw sourced from local farms, worth around £9 million to the local economy, in order to generate sustainable and renewable energy.
The plant was officially declared open by Baroness Verma, Minister for Energy and Climate Change, in a ceremony this past Friday, 28 November 2014.
Mike Harrison said that Sleaford and Kirkby-la-Thorpe was “chosen for its location” and that “the local authority believes in it.
“When you look at a bio-plant you need to be in the middle of the fuel source so Lincolnshire was the obvious choice.”
He also confirmed further plants to build another plant in Brigg, North Lincolnshire.
Straw is currently sourced from within a 50-mile radius in order to reduce transit, but they are looking to reduce this to 30 miles in the coming years as links with local farmers develop.
Mike also expressed the important of maintaining diversity in farm land in the area, stating “straw is a by-product of agriculture.”
“We don’t want to increase the cost of straw to the consumer.”
Mike Harrison also confirmed that the recent straw fire near Greylees, Lincolnshire lost the plant around 12,000 straw bales, equating to in the region of a week-and-a-half of operating time.
He stressed that despite the fire, it “didn’t affect the running of the plant.”
For more information on the plant, its operation and how it effects and investments in the local community, you can visit their website.