The 38MW Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant, which could provide enough electricity to power 65,000 homes, creates energy through the clean and efficient combustion of straw – the by-product of wheat production, taken mainly from farms within a 50-mile radius of Sleaford.

Ash produced by the plant will be recycled as crop fertiliser, effectively creating a local circular economy.

The plant,s owner Glennmont Partners has entered into long-term contracts with local farmers and suppliers to provide straw. This helps farmers invest in their crops with the knowledge that they have a route-to-market for for long periods.

The plant will save 240 000 tonnes of CO2 per annum, helping the UK achieve its renewable energy targets whilst bolstering the nation’s energy security.

District heating

As well as generating electricity, the surplus heat generated by the plant is harnessed and used for heating local amenities, including the leisure centre, football club and Town Hall. This heat is provided by the plant free of charge for twenty-five years – saving £2million in energy costs over that period.

Utilising the heat from power generations is a perhaps underutilised technique, with former Environment Secretary Owen Pateron suggesting it could ‘help Britain out of the strait-jacket of current energy policy’ by cutting emissions, cutting costs and creating jobs.

The plant was made possible by a £165m investment from investment fund Glennmont Partners, who now subcontracts the management of the plant to renewables developer Eco2.

The Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant will be officially opened by Climate Change Minister Baroness Verma on Friday, 28 November. 

Brad Allen

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