WORK has started on a major development which aims to be the first of its kind to be powered entirely by renewable wind and solar energy, heated with wine.

The Lanchester Group, which includes wine merchant Lanchester Wines and contract bottler, Greencroft Bottling, is creating a £20 million, bottling facility at its site near Stanley.

With work set to be completed in 2020, it promises to be the most modern and environmentally sustainable wine bottling facility in the world, housing new filling lines and increasing capability to 400 million litres per year, from 105million litres at present.

When complete, the facility will be powered using energy generated by Lanchester Group’s three on-site wind turbines and will be built with 1,000,000 Watts of solar panels which alone will generate 850,000 kWh per year.

It will also be the first business in the world to take heat from the cooling of wine to provide heat for its building, using technology developed by Lanchester Group.

Tony Cleary, managing director of the Lanchester Group, said: “As a business, we continue to make choices about our long-term sustainability which go above and beyond both legislation and common practice.

“Our aspiration is to become a ‘thought leader’ and sharer of best practice.

“As a privately owned, family business we are in a largely unique position which enable us to experiment and take risks in order to find new solutions, and we want others to emulate our successes.

“We believe what is good for the environment is good for us all.”

The plant will also be the first to work with battery manufactures to install an electricity storage capability for times when renewable energy generation does not cover factory energy requirements, when there is no wind or sunlight.

Mr Clearly added: “We believe being carbon neutral is just the beginning, and even with this additional facility, the group will continue to produce more clean renewable energy than we use which we believe makes us carbon minus.”

The structure has been created with sustainability in mind and will incorporate the latest design of modular steel frame building.

Julian Critchlow, director general, Energy Transformation and Clean Growth at the from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, officially broke ground on the new facility on Tuesday.

He said: “This is a great example of an organisation that’s both innovating in terms of processes and technology in that they’re generating their own electricity from their own wind turbines. They’re producing more energy than they’re actually consuming.”