Farmgen submits plans to supply energy to prison

Lancashire-based green energy producer Farmgen is in talks with Kirkham Prison about using crops grown by inmates as fuel to heat the prison.

A planning application has been submitted by Farmgen for a £3m plant at Cooper House Farm, Kirkham Road in Freckleton. Kirkham houses 590 inmates and has 65 acres of farmland.

Ed Cattigan, chief operating officer of Farmgen, said: "As our initial site at Carr Farm is well underway, we are actively looking at new sites to develop more farm-based AD plants, using our Warton site as a blueprint.

"The reason we have chosen this site is that it is next to Kirkham Prison and we are currently in talks with them about supplying heat energy, with the potential that they supply the plant from their farming operations.

"The fact we are talking to the prison service, among others, about their supply needs, shows just how much interest there is in this form of green energy production."

Construction of Farmgen's first £3m anaerobic digestion plant is underway at Carr Farm in Warton on schedule to start generating energy in the spring. Work has also started on the construction of a second Farmgen operation at Dryholme Farm, near Silloth, in Cumbria.

Marks & Spencer has signed a five-year contract to buy the energy generated from Carr Farm at a fixed price, as part of its 'Plan A' commitment to procure more renewable energy from small-scale energy sources. Carr Farm will generate 800kW of electricity and Dryholme 1.2MW – the equivalent of powering more than 1,000 homes. The generating capacity of Cooper House Farm has yet to be confirmed, but it could be up to 2MW in size, the company's largest so far.

Farmgen, based in Lytham St Annes, was established in 2009 by energy advisor Michael Abbott and former Yorkshire Electricity boss Simon Rigby. The company raised £30m to build a portfolio of 100 AD plants around the country.

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