Lincolnshire

Council seeks more energy from waste income

Lincolnshire County Council is looking into better ways of monetising electricity and heat produced from the energy from waste plant in North Hykeham.

The Overview and Scrutiny Management committee on Thursday looked at the council’s commercialisation strategy.

Sophie Reeve, chief commercial officer, echoed council leader Martin Hill’s recent comments that investments would not take place outside of the county.

She said the council was operating under two principles of “customer service ethos at the heart of all commercial activity” and “managing risk so service offer was not put at risk”.

“We’re not going to be investing in golf clubs at Glen Eagles and we’re not going to be carrying a lot of investment outside of Lincolnshire,” she said.

“What we’re thinking of is using commercial activity to generate income which can then be reinvested back into public services in Lincolnshire.

According to the strategy, the facility is currently at all of its 175,000 tonne capacity instead of sending waste to landfill or selling as originally planned.

Ms Reeve said: “Energy from waste kicks off a lot of heat but we don’t have a way to use it right now.

“It’s something we ought to look at, it’s an asset we have paid for and it’s producing something of value. It’s just a question of whether we can get our hands on that value in an affordable way.”

She explained that the electric grid currently takes up 30-40% of the costs for the electricity.

Solutions included private wiring arrangements and district heating schemes, which could both produce a ‘lot more return’ but would be expensive to install.

“Those are opportunities for the future but we need resources to investigate them and make them a reality,” said Ms Reeve.

Councillors agreed that looking into schemes could be beneficial, with Councillor Jacqueline Brockway acknowledging ‘commercialism is changing’.

She said: “It’s very important we should keep our eyes on it. Energy from waste commercialism is turning into something else and we need to be very very educated on it.”