£10m fund launched to finance 100 farm wind turbines as power costs soar
Demand for the turbines from the farming community has soared in recent months as power costs continue to climb, while deadlines reducing levels of Government incentives draw ever closer.
“We have secured over £10m of backing to fund the installation of new super-efficient turbines with no cost to the farmer or landowner,” explained Mark Woodward of Earthmill. “The fund is open to any farmer who has land suitable for turbine installation and has the capability to connect to the National Grid.”
He added: “The launch of the fund eliminates any financial risk to the landowner. Everyone still has the option to buy a turbine outright and we will install and connect it to the Grid, but this opens up green energy as a revenue stream to many farmers who previously chose not to invest in the technology. The installation of a ‘small-scale’ wind turbine can reduce the farm’s electricity bill by as much as £40,000 per annum for high energy users as well as provide a rental income for 20 years.
“Previously some farmers didn’t want to borrow money for wind projects, or were unable to secure the loans required and as a result were missing out on significant revenues from power generation as well as discounted energy for consumption on their farms. Rapidly increasing energy bills are a major issue for many farmers and this initiative will greatly help to protect them from this problem.”
Mr Woodward emphasised that many farmers can generate significant levels of power for their own use, with any extra being fed into the grid. The fund will cover all the project costs from the early stages of securing planning, through to upgrading the farm’s electrical supply if required. Provided the farmer owns the land, or in exceptional cases has a long lease, the fund will undertake all ground and building works required to install the turbines that can typically generate enough power for 150 homes.
There are currently over 500 live applications by farmers to install individual or twin farm-scale turbines on UK farm land. This latest boost for the industry will enable more farmers to enter the energy market, bolstering dwindling farm revenues and reducing sky-rocketing energy bills.
Poultry, pig and dairy farmers, who typically consume the most power, stand to make the most from the scheme. The revenues farmers can earn from the Government’s Feed in Tariff scheme fall in April 2014 as incentives are reduced. Rising electricity costs and meagre farm revenues are, however, driving a steady increase in demand for new turbines that will continue throughout 2014.