Earthmill expands with new wind turbine management division
Wetherby-based renewables specialist, Earthmill, the country’s largest agricultural wind turbine business, has expanded with the launch of a new division dedicated to servicing and maintaining wind turbines, to help maximise returns from wind power for farms across the UK.
The £15m turnover business, which has installed more than 250 ‘farm-scale’ turbines since it was launched out of managing director Steve Milner’s garage in 2009, has invested in new staff and technology in response to the high demand for assistance from turbine owners whose initial service warranties have expired.
Earthmill has won more than 20 new service and maintenance contracts in the last few months and expects to have gained at least a further 50 by the end of this year.
With a 14-strong team of engineers deployed nationally, and further hires expected later this year, Earthmill has also invested in a new on-site high-tech control centre at its Wetherby head office. The technology provides a detailed, real-time report of local wind speeds and power outputs of each turbine as well as pre-empting and instantly logging any technical problems
The system enables the team to react immediately to problems, either fixing issues from the Wetherby control centre or deploying their nearest engineer to the faulty turbine whatever time of day problems occur.
Earthmill managing director, Steve Milner, said: “When something goes wrong with a turbine, speed and technical expertise are essential to avoid costly downtime for turbine owners, who need their machine to be producing power at every opportunity. This investment in technology allows us to gather the levels of data necessary to ensure our clients are constantly getting the maximum out of their wind turbine investments.”
Mr Milner added: “We’ve put together a turbine management package for clients, specifically designed to take that stress away from farmers, who have more than enough to worry about already.
“There are a lot of basic maintenance deals on the market now but we take a holistic and more proactive approach to looking after each turbine site. While the industry average availability, or uptime, rate is 95 per cent, the rate for the turbines that Earthmill services and maintains is 98 per cent, thanks to our highly experienced team.
“Typically that extra 3 per cent means an additional £2,000 a year in revenue for hard-pressed farmers who need to maximise their farm income,” said Mr Milner.
Earthmill’s turbine management package also includes managing clients’ power purchase agreements, which can achieve an average 0.5p above the standard market rate, equating to up to £3,000 in additional annual income. The company also advises on business rates and insurance for turbines.