There is a lot to think about when building an AD plant, from choosing a site to getting neighbours on side. James Miles-Hobbs, of J.M.H. Farming and Renewables explains.
THE right site will be:
ENGAGE with local people and the parish council early. Organise a meeting to show plans and answer questions. If you do not feel confident doing this, take your project consultant with you. Anticipated concerns include:
THERE are considerable costs before construction can begin. An application to the electricity grid and distributor network operator will cost between £500-£2,000.
Expect to pay a consultant about £5,000 to do the planning application.
If you are going for a large-scale plant with an investor, then you are looking at more like £50,000-£100,000 for all the planning fees, legal and pre-construction work.
IN your application you will need to address: impact on quality of life, the immediate countryside and wildlife; light/air/water pollution; traffic; noise; effects on public rights of way; and health hazards from digestate.
YOU will be given a fixed cost for building the plant and site, so carefully consider any additional costs which come up. It is important to keep your construction timeline on track so you can make loan repayments.
Think about doubling the time the installer says it will take to build, to be safe, and talk to your lender about the possibility of a repayment holiday should things overrun.
AD PLANTS are very feedstock-specific, so work out what your feedstock will be and ensure you can commit to it for the duration of the plant (15-20 years).
Visit as many AD plants as possible. Once you have decided on a model, visit as many of that model as possible to talk to the farmer and operator.
Most people will choose a dedicated installer and an AD plant with a fully integrated system. It is, however, possible to select separate parts from different manufacturers, but you risk not having warranties and construction taking longer.