A MEMBER of European Parliament has visited the British Sugar Factory in Bury St Edmunds in the run up to the vote on the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive.
Vicky Ford, MEP for the East of England, was taken on a guided tour of the facility by CHP Area Manager Simon Ransome on Friday.
Mrs Ford was at the factory to see it’s Combined Heat and Power system (CHP).
The eco-friendly system works by creating electricity and heat onsite using a giant gas powered turbine.
The electricity is then used to power the factory and the heat used to heat the sugar juice and in the evaporation stages.
This process helps the factory to be more than 70 per cent energy efficient, allowing it to put back 50 megawatts of electricity back into the local power grid, enough energy for 160,000 people.
Mrs Ford said the factory was a good example of how a factory could be energy efficient.
She said: “The reason I am here is I am looking at a piece of work called the Energy Efficiency Directive looking at ways in which we can save energy. At this factory they need to produce heat to make the sugar – but it is much more efficient to make electricity at the same time. This site creates the same amount of electricity as 35 wind turbines – more than enough to power the whole of Bury.
“You would need to make heat anyway to make the sugar so if you can create electricity at the same time it is much more efficient.
“I think everyone is so concerned about their energy bills and wants to be efficient but it is giving people the incentive to do it that is important, that is what the directive is about.”
The Energy Efficiency Directive aims to cut energy consumption by 20 per cent in Europe by 2020.
The directive requires that by January 1, 2014, the member states will have established a national heating and cooling plan including the use of CHP. Although CHP is 30 per cent more efficient in generating power than separate electricity and heat production, only 11 per cent of energy production uses it.
The new directive wants to raise this figure to 21 per cent by 2020.
MEPs will vote on the bill at the end of October.