Construction of a biomass power plant near Snetterton, which will bring electricty to more than 80,000 homes and create jobs and business opportunities across Breckland, is due to begin this month.
Ground was broken at the site of the £160 million straw-fired power plant, near Snetterton race circuit, on Monday to mark the official start of the construction project.
Representatives from site owners BWSC and developers Eco2 Ltd and Iceni Energy visited the site of the 44.2MW Snetterton Renewable Energy Plant, scheduled for completion in 2017.
Breckland Council leader Michael Wassell said: “The fact there will be power here is going to unlock the district and open it up to new businesses, building on the success of the A11 completion.
“It is another brick in the demonstration that Breckland is open for business, creating commerce and industry in what is an area with a great rural heritage.”
The construction project is expected to create 250 jobs locally, with up 86 jobs available on the finished site.
The power plant will be fuelled by 250,000 tonnes of baled straw per year and can generate enough energy to supply 82,000 homes. It also has the potential to bring £11 million a year to the area’s agricultural economy.
Senior project manager at Eco2 Karen Algate said 50 contracts have been agreed with local famers, and the majority of contracts would be within a 30 to 40 mile radius of the site.
“This will provide a base line market for the straw. The plant will use a huge volume and the local farmers know they can get a good price for it,” she said.
“It is good for the industry here, because there is not a lot of provision of this kind.”
Cllr Wassell said: “One of the things we were aware of which has really stopped development in this area is the lack of power, and hopefully this will solve that problem.”
“This power house will also be connected to the National Grid and putting energy back in, which can only be good.”
General manager of BWSC East Anglia, Colin Jones, said: “We are looking forward to this project, which will add to our UK portfolio.
“The plant represents a big investment into the local economy, and in the local infrastructure there is a real need for something like this.”