Waitrose is expected to open its first biomass powered store by the end of 2011. Charlotte Reid tells us what it’s all about.
John Lewis Partnership (JLP) is set to open their first renewable energy centre at their Waitrose store on the Isle of Wight by the end of 2011.
The Cowes woodchip-fuelled combined cooling and heating centre is a pilot project for the company and works by burning woodchips which then connects to the central heating system. This will provide the shop with all its electricity, heating and cooling needs.
The plant will use 2,000 tons of woodchips a year and it will be local to the Isle of Wight as the woodchips will come from nearby farmers and woodland.
JLP say the energy centre will make a saving of 1,180 tons of carbon per year. This means it will reduce their reliance upon the National Grid for electricity as well as almost doing away with their need for fossil fuels, other than for maintenance work.
Under an agreement with EDF energy all current Waitrose stores use green energy but JLP are keen to look at alternatives.
The firm has made a number of commitments to cut emissions by 15% for 2020/2021, and a key part of that plan is to produce and use energy from renewable sources.
It is also planned to have more of an impact than just the store reducing its dependency on the National Grid.
Negotiations are in place to get the biomass centre in Cowes to supply the surrounding area with renewable energy in the future.
There will also be a visitor’s centre to explain the benefits to the local community.
Based on what the company have learnt from the Cowes project a small model has been developed that will be used across all John Lewis and Waitrose stores, with the first being in Bracknell, Berkshire in early 2012.