The chance to make a healthy return on investment, and to create a buffer to rising energy costs and carbon emissions will be attractive to many farmers. The Clean Energy Cash-back Scheme (Feed-in Tariffs) and the Renewable Heat Incentive have created opportunities for farmers to do just this. Deciding what technology to install where, and how to go about this may appear straight-forward but select the wrong technology or build it in the wrong place and you could have an expensive mistake sat your balance sheet for many years to come.
Photo Climate Works Ltd
Climate Works has been providing independent advice to farmers on using renewable energy for over eighteen months. During this time we have seen examples of renewable installations which look likely to deliver a good return on investment. We have also seen plenty of expensive white elephants. These include wind turbines placed too close to woodland and heat pumps used to heat old, and poorly insulated farm buildings on a farm with an abundance of free wood, making biomass an obvious choice.
Part of the problem is that much of the ‘advice’ on offer is from suppliers and installers of renewable technologies. What appears to be free advice often comes with a large helping of vested interest. The rush to complete installations before the next change in the Feed-in tariffs means the pressure is on to sell equipment fast.
Knowing what technology to install requires a careful assessment of the renewable resource, energy demand, and understanding of the predicted yield. The relaunch this autumn of an advice programme run by Business Link and designed specifically for farmers should help them to get the advice they need to decide when and where to invest. The programme will provide up to 3 days of free advice from independent consultants, and Climate Works is working with Business Link to be able to offer advice under the programme. For information about our farm services click here