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‘Farmed wind’ energy debated at AgriScot

Our Sr Sales Manager for UK and Ireland, Iain Hardie recently participated in the Scottish Renewables session at AgriScot – Scotland’s largest agricultural show. Iain shares his takeaways:

‘Although the Scottish Renewables session’s attendance was down compared to the previous years, the overall mood was positive. There seems to be a consensus that renewable energy is here to stay, despite the UK’s Government proposal to reduce support for certain types of renewable energy technology. Majority of attendees voiced their support for more onshore wind projects. It seems that smaller, up to 50kW machines would be the way forward for ‘farmed wind’ – an on-site generation and consumption model for farms and small businesses across the UK.

Since Northern Power Systems is immersed in the UK Wind sector and a member of Scottish Renewables, we were invited to present our vision for distributed wind generation in the post Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) UK. I talked about our commitment to supply renewable energy technology to Scotland’s farming and small to medium business community.

High energy demand and increasing cost of electricity in agricultural sector are key drivers for continuing renewable energy deployment across the UK. With support scheme’s phase out, additional policy measures should allow farmers to generate their own electricity in order to offset their electricity usage. Currently, utilities are testing ‘Zero-Grid’ connectivity, which is one step away from net-metering. Combining current FiT rate, proposed by DECC, with net-metering, enables farmers and light industrial businesses to install distributed wind systems on-site, giving them the combined value to pay for the system.

Particularly, our technology would benefit small and medium enterprises with high energy demand (300kW/h + per year), able to consume a large portion 85%+ of energy, generated by our wind turbines on site. During several conversations with our existing partners and potential customers, it transpired that a smaller machine, rated to 49,9kW would be optimal for the ‘farmed wind’ application.

In addition, I had fruitful discussions with financiers. As the UK market changes, so too is the high street banks attitude towards Renewables projects, expressing an active interest in the wind sector.

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