Members of the FEZ partnership which met recently at Lincoln University.

Town could be energy centre

The emerging Food Enterprise Zone at Holbeach could be at the heart of developing clean technology into the sector across the area, according to a new energy strategy.

A draft strategy put together by The Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) says energy supplies need to be future- proofed to provide an affordable and reliable source for business.

The document went before members of the county council’s Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee which met last week.

“It is important to recognise that one of the best ways to increase resilience is to decrease overall energy usage through improved business practices,” says the report.

The high cost of electricity was cited as a serious concern by businesses with the UK among the highest in Europe.

With a rural county like Lincolnshire, the thinly-stretched radial grid can be much weaker than the more urban network grid.

There is even the chance of electricity supplies being interrupted at peak times due to demand outstripping supply, the report suggested.

The new Food Enterprise Zone in Holbeach affords an opportunity to look at the introduction of clean technology and the report adds: “There are likely to be opportunities around developing or retro-fitting Combined Heat and Power (CHP) schemes.”

The LEP is set to work with the Midlands Energy Hub and local councils to encourage businesses to bid for funding.

It also wants to help relieve current problems of getting new connections for business customers.

The strategy also mentions the lack of charging availability for electric vehicles and suggests that new homes be fitted with a three-phase supply which can be utilised for charging.

“Electric vehicle charging currently has a low coverage in Lincolnshire, with a few small concentrations.

“We want to stimulate the market and developers to install more charging points across the LEP area.

“Electric vehicle charging is particularly important in our rural areas and it is essential that the network is sufficient to overcome ‘range anxiety’ particularly for business users,” the report says.

The report also identifies the A15 as a barrier to growth due to the fact it is not entirely a dual carriageway.

“Similarly the A17 is a road which many logistics and AgriFood companies depend upon and is often heavily congested.

“We will support research into future forms of transport and associated energy needs,” it adds.

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