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The new Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant will purchase thousands of bales of straw from farmers in the Lincolnshire area each year, according to the energy firm involved and the NFU. It’s a sign of the continuing growth of a new energy market and the wide range of opportunities renewable are bringing to small and medium sized business, not only in construction but also in agriculture.
The plant, which will be run by Eco2, will use 240,000 bales of local straw each year and will generate enough electricity for 65,000 homes. It will also employ approximately 80 people.
Construction is due to get underway in late May and it will be only the second straw-fired power plant in the country when it is completed in 2014. An Eco2 spokesman said: "It’s critical to make sure you locate the plant near to where the fuel is produced.”
Jonathan Scurlock, renewable energy advisor for the National Union of Farmers (NFU) said: "About 40% of the straw we produce in this country is chopped and incorporated into the soil after harvest, so we know farming has the capacity to meet this new and exciting market. The east of England is ideally placed to supply both existing straw users and new energy markets".
Some local residents opposed the plans, as they believe the plant will have detrimental effects on the town’s traffic. However Eco2 have said they are hoping to come to an agreement with the local council to designate a route for lorries coming and going to the plant.