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.
The UK’s fledgling biogas industry has expressed relief, after the government issued reassurances that it remained committed to expanding the biomethane-to-grid sector. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) recently ran a consultation on proposed changes to the level of support offered to anaerobic digestion plants that inject biogas to the grid, amidst concerns that the sector was being over-rewarded in a way that could lead to a costly boom in new developments.
Heat and hot water at a new housing development in the Highlands will be provided by an innovative community biomass scheme, after the local council approved the project. The 24 two and three bedroom family houses being built at Milton Burn, in the heart of the town of Aviemore, will be heated by a single biomass heating network powered by two 70 kilowatt biomass systems.
A huge growth in Suffolk’s independent renewables projects has been recorded as farmers, businesses and public sector organisations seek ways of tackling soaring energy prices. New research has revealed a 48% year-on-year increase in funding for schemes such as wind turbines and solar installations in the county – on top of projects from the “Big Six” power companies.
Wetherby-based wind turbine specialist Earthmill has opened the UK’s first crowd-funded investment aimed at farm-scale turbines, which enables individuals to invest in turbine installations already operating on farms across Yorkshire. The innovative fund, which guarantees investors returns of 7.25 per cent per annum over three years, with an additional 0.25 per cent for early investors, has been launched by renewable energy crowd-funding platform Trillion Fund. The minimum investment is £50 and Earthmill’s initial target is to raise £1.25m. Loans will be secured against five already operational farm scale turbines across Yorkshire.