A FYLDE “energy farming” firm has outlined its £30m green vision to a leading MEP and urged more support to prevent the expansion of the renewable sector stalling.
Sajjad Karim, who sits on the influential Industry Research and Energy Committee, was given a special tour of the Farmgen’s first state-of-the-art, £3m on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at Carr Farm, Warton.
Simon Rigby, one of the founders of the Blackpool-based firm, used the visit to outline the company’s ambitious expansion plans to have 10 AD plants up and running by 2015 and to brief the MEP on the challenges facing the renewable sector in the UK today.
Mr Rigby also briefed the MEP on the impact current uncertainty over feed-in tariffs – which set the amount green energy can raise from putting power back into the grid – is having on farm-based AD and investment in the sector.
He said: “If you look at Germany, they have 5,000 AD plants up and running already and in this country the Government says it wants to create 1,000. The reality is that is not going to happen unless the investment is there.”
“We were delighted to be able to show Mr Karim what we have already achieved and what we are planning to achieve in the next few years.
“There is little doubt that the UK is still lagging behind Europe when it comes to renewable energy and that is a message we have to get across to all parties.”
The company’s second £4m plant at Dryholme Farm, near Silloth, Cumbria, is due to go live at the end of the summer.
They have submitted planning applications for two further operations in Cumbria, as well as a third project in Dorset.
Mr Karim said: “The opportunity to tour Carr Farm, now the whole plant is working, has made me realise the full potential of ADs, both in respect of the utilisation of a wide variety of crops and products to create much needed low cost electricity and in the re-cycling of the remaining by-products back into the land or alternative sources such as peat.”