by Tom McBeth
A spokesman has confirmed that 12,000 half-tonne straw bales destroyed in a recent fire equated to a loss of around “a week-and-a-half [of] capacity” at a newly-opened renewable energy plant.
Ahead of the plant’s official opening in Sleaford, Lincolnshire on November 28, Mike Harrison, Public Affairs Director, said that despite the loss of output, “it didn’t affect the running of the plant and no amount of planning would have prevented [the fire].”
Mr Harrison added that the fire is unlikely to have done any long term damage and was no more an environmental concern that “people lighting bonfires or The Forestry Commission burning sections of their forestry.”
An investigation into the fire, which occurred on October 19 near Greyless, Lincolnshire is still ongoing with three youths having been arrested on suspicion of arson and later bailed.
Glennmont Partners, formerly BNP Paribas’s Clean Energy Partners, funded construction of Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant in 2011 at a cost of £165 million to build as part of their ‘clean energy investment’.
The plant started operation in September and is described as being almost carbon neutral using straw bought from local farms to provide enough electricity to power 65,000 homes and reduce 240,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Mr Harrison said, “the plant is the first of its kind in the UK but it is not new technology” and that “Sweden uses biomass fuel.”
He also confirmed plans for Glennmont Partners to build “another biomass plant in Brigg [North Lincolnshire].”
Glennmont Partners has stated its commitment to investing in the local community including local community projects, apprenticeship schemes and investments in ArtsNK and local education.
Mr Harrison said it has already “provided grants to Sleaford Little Theatre and the football club” as well as investing £200,000 in the upgrade of the A17 Kirkby to Sleaford road and footpath and the creation of 300 local jobs.