Ecotricity submits planning application for green gas plant at college

UK-based renewable energy firm Ecotricity has submitted a planning application for a proposed anaerobic digestion (AD) plant near Winchester, UK.

The plant will be located at Sparshot College in Hampshire and is expected to be the firm's first AD facility located in the UK. In a statement, the company said the partnership will inject  around £60m into the local economy. 

The £10m project will also include a renewable energy centre, which will provide students with specialist training roles in the fast-expanding green gas industry.

Ecotricity describes its plants as Green Gas Mills. The firm introduced the concept of making green gas from grass in Britain early last year, and if the company's application to Winchester City Council is accepted, the Green Gas Mill will pump £3m into the local economy every year for the 20 years of its operation.

'Green revolution'
Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: "We have to stop burning fossil fuels, and green gas will play a big part in helping us to achieve that in Britain – it's good for our economy, because we'll no longer need to import those expensive fossil fuels; it's good for the environment, because it's carbon neutral and creates new wildlife habitats; and it's good for farmers, because it allows them to diversify, rely less on farming livestock, and build a more sustainable future.

"The world signed up to the limiting temperature rise to well below two degrees C at the Paris Climate Conference last year – that included a long term goal of being carbon neutral after 2050 and eventually carbon negative, which means taking more carbon out of the atmosphere than we put in. They're big ambitions – and green gas is essential to that vision.

"Sparsholt is one of the first Green Gas Mills we're looking to build in Britain – one of the first in what will be a green gas revolution in this country. And what's particularly special is that, together with Sparsholt, we'll be helping to train the green gas engineers Britain will need."

The Sparsholt College Green Gas Mill, fuelled by locally harvested grass, could produce enough clean gas to power the equivalent of 4,000 homes every year.

Tim Jackson, Sparsholt College principal, said: "We've carried out public consultation over the past four months with local councils, farmers and residents – and the feedback has been a mix of those who are very positive to those with concerns about the impact on local roads and the visual landscape.

"The Green Gas Mill is the next step on the journey towards Sparsholt College developing our status as a 'Centre for the Demonstration of Environmental Technologies', which is being supported by Ecotricity and through a grant from the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership."

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