Farmers rewarded for innovative carbon reduction schemes   

The achievements of six innovative farmers were celebrated at the Energy Now Awards 2017.

Now in their second year, the awards celebrate resourceful farmers who not only care about alternative energy to fossil fuels, but have successful renewable installations that stack up financially.

The hydro award went to Bill Cave, Glenburnie Hydro, Abergavenny, who was over the moon to receive it.

“To be given the award for so small a hydro scheme is ground-breaking,” he said.

“With electricity prices on the rise again, the smart money is on generating your own electricity to avoid buying it from a supply company. There is scope for many more such installations if farmers and landowners only realise that such technology is available,”added Bill.

Receiving the award for AD and biogas, Dr Stephen Temple said that the government needs to continue to support the industry.

“Climate change is one of the biggest threats to mankind currently, and we’ve got to do as much as we possibly can to support it,” he said.

Stephen farms a dairy herd of pure pedigree Brown Swiss cows in Wighton, North Norfolk, and much of the milk is used for cheese making. “Done sensibly, renewable installations can be integrated into the whole business and generate a significant income,” he said.

“It’s important to recognise the people who have success in renewables, and it can be daunting when you first start out.

“We now have a number of renewable initiatives on the farm, and we use carbon neutral fuel where possible. We installed an AD plant in 2009 and use the cow slurry, whey from the cheese we make, lower quality maize and energy beet. Around 80% is exported to the grid and the rest is used on the farm. The waste heat from the engine heats the house, office, cheese making, hot water for the dairy, grain drying, three farm cottages and warm drinking water for the cows.

“The future is determined by politicians – we need their continued support for a low carbon, sustainable future.”

Each winner walked away with a £500 cash prize.

BEST AD AND BIOGAS SCHEME SPONSORED BY EnviTec Biogas UK Ltd

Winner: Dr Stephen Temple,

Mrs Temple’s Cheeses / Copys Green Farm

Based in Wighton, North Norfolk, Mrs Temple’s Cheeses is completely self-sufficient in terms of energy usage, thanks to the installation of a state-of-the-art, on site anaerobic digestion (AD) facility. Taking whey feedstock straight from the production line, alongside slurry, fodder beet and maize silage from the farm’s wider operations, unwanted waste is turned into renewable energy via the AD process.

BEST BIOMASS SCHEME SPONSORED BY FGE Biomass

Winner: Nick Green, Savills, West Dean Biomass District Heating Scheme
(Edward James Foundation/Savills)

There has been a biomass heating system serving West Dean College and 16 neighbouring buildings for 35 years. The heat from the biomass scheme serves 39 buildings, which consists of West Dean College, student accommodation at Dower House, glasshouses, visitor centre and tea room, West Dean Parish Church as well as several houses and cottages.

BEST SOLAR SCHEME

Winner: William Notcutt, William Notcutt Estates

The 1.06MW Loudham Lane Solar Farm was developed in 2015 and to date has generated 1,431,408 kW of power. All power generated is exported through to the grid. In addition to the FiT payment, a variable export rate is achieved, working in conjunction with LimeJump energy – an aggregating renewable energy supplier. The amount of power produced is sufficient to power 350 mid-sized family homes. In 2016 peak daily production of 7696kW was achieved on 6 June, and at midday this was 879kW; enough to boil 750 kettles at the same time.

 BEST HYDRO SCHEME SPONSORED BY Dulas

Winner: Bill Cave, Glenburnie Hydro

Glenburnie Hydro is a grid connected ‘Powerspout’ hydro of a size which is usually considered too small to be viable; it generates a maximum of 750 watts, has been in operation for three years and in the 2015/16 generating year it produced 4,150kWh. The power generated is used domestically in the house.

MOST CARBON NEUTRAL SCHEME SPONSORED BY ESP Energy

Winner: Mark Green, FM Green

Mike has installed a number of renewable installations to help reduce fossil fuel derived activity on his mixed farm which has broiler chickens, potato and arable crops. This includes 500kW of solar PV to supply electricity for farm use and export to the grid. Five biomass boilers heat the chicken sheds, largely replacing gas heating, and 2MW of biomass boilers have been installed in an existing grain store. There is also a 500kWe anaerobic digester.

BEST WIND SCHEME SPONSORED BY ENERCON GmbH – UK

Winner: Bob Gray, and Jonathan Eagles, Sheepwash Farm, Staffordshire

The farm’s primary source of business is growing potatoes to be used in the production of crisps and chips. It has an annual energy consumption of 500,000kW/a and so is now a net exporter. Since installation in 2016, their turbine has generated 1,800,000kWh and the annual energy production is in the region of 1,457,000kWh/a – enough green energy to power at least 370 domestic properties. 

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