A new 100kw hydro scheme has been switched on at the foot of Inverlochlarig burn, a course of water which feeds into Loch Doine, then Loch Voil and eventually the Firth of Forth. Inverlochlarig, near Lochearnhead and within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, is a 10,000 acre hill farm which has been tended to by the same family since 1877. It is home to more than 3,500 Scottish Blackface and Cheviot Ewes and a herd of 100 cattle.
The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has officially launched a new trade body to represent the fast-expanding wood heat technology industry. Announcing the formal launch of the new body at the All Energy Conference in Aberdeen, Julian Morgan-Jones, managing director of South East Wood Fuels and interim chairman of the WHA, said the recent launch of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme made it “an exciting time for the wood heat industry”.
English farmers investing in on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD) can apply for loan funding as part of a £3m DEFRA initiative. Loans to cover 50% of project costs up to a maximum of £400,000 were announced as part of the On Farm AD Fund by environment secretary Owen Paterson. The scheme is available for small-scale AD plants up to 250kW in size, primarily run on farm waste, with loans expected to be issued to farmers at the beginning of 2014.
The City of Edinburgh (which has a population about the same size as Cumbria) is working with Midlothian Council to build an anaerobic digester for food waste. The project will create around 50 jobs during construction and nine full-time jobs when complete. The plant will generate electricity which will be used by Scottish Water to help power water and drainage services across Scotland.
Farms and rural businesses with renewables in mind have been given a quarter million pound window of opportunity over the next two years. Businesses will see an increase in the annual investment allowance (AIA) giving 100% tax relief on investments from £25,000 to £250,000 for the next two years.
Johnnie Andringa, CEO of Glasgow based Gaia-Wind said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for those looking to invest in small wind. The allowance comfortably covers an investment in one or even several small wind turbines and means that a farm or rural business could offset the entire cost against their income tax in year one.” Investing in one turbine at around £45,000 would mean the net cost of the turbine for a 40% tax payer would be £27,000: Payback time on a Gaia-Wind turbine based on the current Feed in Tariff drops from 5.3 years to 3.4 years; and the level of investment required for say, two turbines, drops to around the previous cost for one – with double the return.
A 250 kW anaerobic digestion plant is being planned at Ponsonby Old Hall Farm near Seascale by a joint venture formed by Yorkshire based on-farm biogas developer JFS & Associates and a family run Farm in Cumbria. JFS will act as a development partner and construct the biogas plant, while the farm will supply the feedstock from existing farm wastes such as manure and slurry, supplemented with energy crops.
Welsh farmer Alwyn Roberts says his wind turbine has been positive for him, local jobs, and the environment. Even the ramblers like it. Situated in the southern end of Snowdonia National Park near the village of Tywyn, Mr Roberts’ 130ha organic farm is benefiting from a new 5kW, 12m-high turbine. Erected in July this year using local contractors, the turbine has already produced more than 6,500 kWh, saved 10 tonnes of carbon, and generated £1,820 from Feed-in Tariffs. This extra income has allowed Mr Roberts to concentrate on his 600 sheep and 30 breeding cows. “I wouldn’t have much spare time for other diversifications, but the turbine doesn’t take up any time,” says Mr Roberts. “Plus it doesn’t affect the farm at all and the livestock are allowed in the field with the turbine.”
Barkip is the largest combined organic waste treatment and energy generating facility in Scotland. The plant can process up to 75,000 tonnes of organic waste annually and produce 2.2MW of renewable electricity from the biogas produced, enough to power approximately 5,500 homes. The fully operational facility is one of the most technologically advanced in the UK and has a major role to play in meeting Scotland’s renewable energy production and waste recycling targets.
Barkip takes in food waste and other organic matter from industries such as agriculture, food production, food retail and alcohol production. This waste is then broken down by bacteria to produce biogas. The methane rich biogas is combusted in gas engines to generate electricity. The residual material forms a nutrient rich digestate, a liquid suitable for use as a fertiliser in agriculture. Barkip is a truly sustainable zero-waste solution for organic wastes and can divert a staggering 37,000 tonnes of food waste from landfill each year.
The University Cumbria in Penrith decided to install a 300kW biomass boiler for its student accommodation at Newton Rigg. The project comprises of a series of detached residential blocks, which are connected by a district heating network of underground pipes from the energy centre. The scheme is expected to burn around 300 tons of wood a year. The capital cost of the scheme is expected to be £300,000, but fuel savings will be £40,000 per year.
Devon farmer Louise Down has strengthened her green credentials even further after South Molton-based Source Renewable installed solar panels to power her chicken barn. Forty solar PV panels on the barn’s roof now provide carbon-free electricity for her 4,000 chickens, powering everything from the belts carrying eggs to the ventilation system and lighting.