Green energy boss powers on

An artist's impression of proposals put forward by Simon Rigby, the owner of the Lava and Ignite nightclub on Church Street, Preston, for the development of the site.

An artist's impression of proposals put forward by Simon Rigby, the owner of the Lava and Ignite nightclub on Church Street, Preston, for the development of the site.

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WREA Green entrepreneur Simon Rigby’s business empire is set to get even bigger – with a new green energy plant on the Fylde coast.

The move comes just days after he announced plans for a multi-million pound revamp of the former Lava Ignite nightclub in Preston – and its conversion into a department store.

Farmgen – one of his Greengen Group of businesses – has submitted plans to build a £4m Anaerobic Digestion (AD) power plant in St Michael’s on Wyre.

If the firm gets the go-ahead, the plant at Moss House Farm will generate enough energy to power more than 1,500 homes.

The development would give a much-needed boost to the rural economy and also play a major part in Farmgen’s £30m UK expansion plan.

The Whitehills-based company already has one flagship plant up and running in Lancashire, with more in the pipeline for the county and across the UK.

Mr Rigby bought Moss House, a 320-acre farm, in a £2.2m deal.

Germany already boasts 5,000 of the plants, which create gas and electricity from methane created by mulching waste food products, or from cow muck.

The Moss House Farm plant, if approved by Wyre councillors, would use crops from local fields, converting them to electricity to be supplied to the National Grid. It would generate 1.2MW of electricity.

Mr Rigby said: “People are very wary and often think with power generation that it can sound too good to be true.

“But we can collect cow muck from neighbouring farmers and use that – and then return it – without the smell to farmers to use as manure.

“And the crops we grow are warmed to release the methane and the waste is composted to help us grow the next lot.”

The Greengen group also includes Solargen and Windgen dealing with solar and wind power renewable energy, and Local Green Energy which currently manages 4MW of power.

Speaking about his Preston scheme, at the one-time Tokyo Jo’s venue, Mr Rigby added: “It’s amazing this place – there’s still a cinema on the top which was closed 25 years ago and just left.

“We’ve got big plans for it.”

Commercial property firm Rigby LLP owns £10m of property.