Farmers yet to take full advantage of their Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) should consider renewables as a way of doubling the potential benefits, according to an independent solar panel installer. Six months after the Chancellor announced he would be increasing the annual allowance for qualifying capital expenditure to £500,000, EvoEnergy is calling on agricultural firms to widen their approach and consider clean energy generation such as solar.
A PIONEERING new green gas scheme in Scotland is set to benefit farmers, homeowners and the environment. A new £10 million anaerobic digestion plant in the Borders will inject eco-friendly gas – made from locally grown grains – directly into the national supply network. The plant will generate enough energy to supply up to 4,000 homes, reducing reliance on non-renewable natural gas. An annual output of three million cubic metres of bio-methane is expected from 30,000 tonnes of wheat and rye. As well as producing sustainable fuel, the scheme offers a new source of income for farmers usually reliant on fluctuating agricultural markets. Growers are able to cultivate a fuel crop as part of the three-crop rotation required by the Common Agricultural Policy.
Bernard Matthews might not be the most obvious company engaged in green energy innovation, but its commitment to environmental issues is by no means “poultry”. Earlier this year, the brand famous for its “bootiful” turkeys secured £24.5m from the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to install 179 biomass boilers at its 21 UK farms, spread across Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire. Around 80 of the boilers had been installed by the end of August and all of the planned 179 will run on woodchip sourced from the local area by Stobart Biomass. The replacements are taking place in the two and a half week turnaround period between the turkeys being shipped from the farm to the factory and the new batch arriving. The programme should result in a “significant” reduction in carbon emissions and help the company towards its goal of becoming carbon neutral by the end of the decade. The company owns nine large wind turbines on three separate sites, which are set to cover half its electricity demand, as well two solar farms – a 60-acre solar farm next door to its factory in Holton, Suffolk, which also hosts a 500kw anaerobic generation plant producing energy from waste, and a 30-acre solar farm at Weston, Norfolk.
Thousands of UK residents will soon be cooking with “poo-power”‘. In a national first, water firms including Severn Trent, Wessex Water and Northumbrian Water are preparing to pipe a continuous supply of biomethane gas directly from sewage-treatment plants into the National Grid. In the past, water firms have used gas produced in sewage treatment to generate electricity on site, but this will be the first time advanced technology to treat methane will produce high-quality biomethane suitable for use in homes. Severn Trent was first to activate its gas-to-grid systems, this week, injecting 1,200m3 of biomethane into the Grid from Minworth sewage works in Birmingham. When fully operational, it will inject 750m3 of biomethane into the Grid every hour, enough to fuel 4,200 homes annually. Both Severn Trent and Wessex Water intend to pipe a continuous supply into the Grid by mid-October. Wessex Water’s gas-to-grid project at the Bristol sewage works will be the first and largest plant of its kind, using food waste as well as sewage to produce up to 2,000m3 of biomethane an hour, enough to fuel 8,300 homes for a year. Food waste, said spokesman Ian Drury, generates “twice as much” biogas as sewage.
New guidance published by BRE National Solar Centre and compiled in partnership with the National Farmers Union, the Solar Trade Association and leading solar companies, aims to explain how solar farms can easily be combined with free-range chicken, poultry raising and the grazing of sheep without adversely impacting agricultural productivity.
This weekend sees the exciting launch of a new biomass boiler at Croft Castle in Herefordshire, marking another great stage in Good Energy’s partnership with the National Trust. This project is the second of five schemes to go live in a £3.5m pilot phase of the charity’s Renewable Energy Investment Programme, which we launched together last year. If successful, the National Trust plans to invest in 43 similar renewables schemes across the country.
MANY people are starting to use solar or wind power to make their homes sustainable and energy efficient. But one county man believes that water is the way forward. Geoffrey Jordan has set up a hydro-electric scheme at his Trebandy Farm in Marstow, near Ross-on-Wye. Using a water wheel over Garron Brook, a tributary of the River Wye, the scheme can generate more than 30,000kw hours a year – enough to power six or seven homes.
More than 1GW of modern wood heating systems have been installed under a government scheme designed to accelerate the roll out of greener boilers. Ofgem figures show the sector broke through the milestone last week following strong demand from commercial, industrial, and public sector organisations since the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was launched in late 2011. The scheme, which offers payments to renewable heat generators, was subsequently expanded to include households from April this year.
Woodend Farming Partnership (WFP) is a family farm business formed by John and Louise Seed together with their daughter Lindsay and son Donald and is based at Woodend near Duns in Berwickshire. It is a 200ha farm that has also established three renewable energy units – 950kW of biomass, 75kW of wind and 50kW of solar PV. This significant investment into renewable energy means that it has dramatically reduced its reliance on fossil fuels, slashed energy costs and can harvest and dry its crops quickly and efficiently.
A Sainsbury’s store in the West Midlands will be the first retail outlet in the UK to come off the National Grid and be powered by food waste alone in a groundbreaking project being unveiled on Monday. Sainsbury’s and waste recycling company Biffa have been working on new technology to allow the Cannock store to run on electricity solely generated from anaerobic digestion. Sainsbury’s is already the UK’s largest retail user of anaerobic digestion, generating enough energy to power 2,500 homes each year. Food waste from the chain’s supermarkets around the UK is delivered by lorry to Biffa’s plant in Cannock, and turned into bio-methane gas which is then used to generate electricity that is directly supplied to the supermarket via a newly constructed 1.5km-long electricity cable.