BUILDING work to create a £3million environmentally-friendly power plant in Cumbria is now on course to start by the end of the year, the company behind the pioneering scheme has revealed.
Farmgen, which is developing the Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant, believes it could be fully operational and supplying electricity to the national grid by the autumn of 2011.
The company has been unable to carry out any building to date on site, at Dryholme Farm, near Silloth, because of the government environmental stewardship agreement, which existed for the farm under its previous ownership.
The agreement came to an end on September 30, which means construction of the plant can now get under way.
In the past few months, other detailed preparatory work has been carried out on the project. That followed the granting of planning permission for the plant, which will generate 1.2MW of electricity, by Allerdale planners earlier this year.
Farmgen says the plant – which will create enough continuous power for more than 1,000 homes – will provide a significant boost to the rural economy.
It believes other similar AD operations will soon be commonplace across the UK and has already earmarked a number of potential ‘energy farming’ sites across Cumbria.
Work on Dryholme's £3m sister plant in Warton, Lancashire is now well advanced. Building work is nearing completion to create the two large tanks, which will form the centre-piece of the pioneering scheme.
It is on target to start providing renewable energy to power more than 1,000 homes next year.
Farmgen chief operating officer, Ed Cattigan, said: “We are highly delighted with the progress being made at Warton but we have also been doing a lot of detailed work to ensure that we can move Dryholme Farm to the next stage of its development.
“The stewardship agreement that existed for that site has meant we have been unable to carry out building work at Silloth, but that has now run its course and we are ready to move forward. Following the site preparation, we are firmly on course for construction work to start by the end of the year.”
Farmgen has put together an impressive consortium of expert UK-based firms to deliver its first tranche of AD plants. The consortium includes a number of leading members of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA).
The industry’s latest technology and know-how is being supplied to the project by leading UK process and technology business Monsal. It has been involved in more than 200 AD projects and has the largest team of ‘biogas-to-energy’ technology specialists in the country.
Other members include Kirk Environmental, a specialist company manufacturing AD tanks, and engineering specialist Agrilek, which operates from Barrow-in-Furness, and has been brought on board to connect the plant to the national grid.Published by http://www.whitehaven-news.co.uk