Energy crops sought for Workington biomass plant
Last updated at 19:32, Thursday, 05 July 2012
Farmers are being signed up to supply a new £108m biomass plant being built at Workington.
Test harvesting has been taking place on a farm near Carlisle before the biomass boiler at Siddick’s Iggesund paperboard factory goes online next year.
The new plant, which will be fuelled by 500,000 tonnes a year of willow, will power the Siddick factory site.
Executives from Swedish-based Iggesund are now scouring Cumbria for potential suppliers.
The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has singled out areas suitable for growing willow, and tests to harvest the crop are taking place.
Machines have been cutting 30ft tall willow crops at a farm at Durdar, near Carlisle.
Iggesund staff will also attend local agricultural shows to tell farmers about the scheme.
Neil Watkins, alternative fuels manager for the biomass project, said: “We’re trialling different harvesting methods and signing up people now because they have got to get applications in to Defra.”
Advice events are also taking place so people can go to the plant and learn about the operation.
Construction is at the halfway stage. As well as being used to power the Iggesund factory, excess energy will be sold off to the National Grid.
Ulf Lofgren, Iggesund finance director, said: “We’re not expecting Cumbria to become covered by energy crops but we do believe this can be a convenient way for farmers to diversify and gain an additional source of income.
“We can take care of harvesting and transporting the crop and will offer index-linked contracts so farmers can count on a reliable source of income for many years.”
First published at 19:21, Thursday, 05 July 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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