Brew Dairy Farm, near Land’s End, Cornwall has 220 dairy cows and a milking parlour working 24 hours a day.
Dairy farming is a heavy user of electricity as milk must be cooled, tanks, pipes and floors need cleaning and hot water needs to be available at all times.
The farm is just 2.5 miles from Land’s End: once passed the Isles of Scilly there is no land mass until the United States of America and the wind blows frequently, strongly and cleanly.
“Aeolus Power (Wind-Energy) Limited managed the installation project very well and I have recommended them to friends and relatives.”
Farmer Mr Semmens liked the idea of renewable energy, the family already had solar panels installed for the house, and believed that wind power offered the best opportunity and the most suitable form of renewable energy.
Visual considerations were important and the site chosen to install the turbine was in a slight basin, so screening the base, and it was also just 600 metres away from 2 large satellite dishes.
Mr Semmens used the Internet to review suppliers, watch videos, see photos, compare installers and understand the expected performance of the turbine.
Mr Semmens says, “It is important to assess the pay-back period based on the wind speed expected at the installation site. We have a 6.97 metres per second wind speed but not all farms will be in such a windy spot.”
The aim was to install the turbine by the end of November 2012 to maximise Feed in Tariff benefits. With the knowledge that planning can sometimes be troublesome, the decision was taken to opt for an Endurance E-3120 as the planning department were familiar with its appearance, noise levels and height. Mr Semmens went to speak at the planning decision meeting and the installation of the turbine was passed.
Planning approval was received in October 2012. Mr Semmens had not committed to purchasing a turbine before his planning permission had been granted and a turbine had not been ‘reserved’ for him. Aeolus Power (Wind-Energy) Limited were however able to offer Mr Semmens a turbine reserved by a customer who had had planning delayed.
Time was tight to install and commission the turbine before the end of November but with wind, weather and know-how on their side the turbine was up by 20th November 2012 with a full 10 days to spare.
The milking parlour on the farm has 3 ‘robots’ and the power produced by the wind turbine is used on the farm itself, to cool milk, to provide electricity to a dwelling and to provide both heat and light.
Once the turbine is installed it can be 4 – 6 months before the FiT payments are received, “That’s something that needs to be built into the budget” says Mr Semmens. His turbine was installed in
November 2012 and he received the first FiT payment in May 2013. Budgeting should also take into account the cost of access to the installation site, excavations, cables, farm rewiring and insurance for ‘loss of revenue’ if repairs are needed.
“Aeolus Power (Wind-Energy) Limited managed the installation project very well and I have recommended them to friends and relatives. They organised everything as much as possible and the turbine went up in time to meet the FiT deadline.”
Update from Mr Semmens, 2 years after the installation
The turbine is performing as expected and 50% of the farm’s electricity costs are covered by the turbine. When the winds are strong the excess energy is exported and that income then covers the purchase of additional electricity when the winds are lighter.