Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Friday, 24 September 2010 11:58 UK
North Shropshire farm wind turbine can save money
Andrew Evans and Paul Fox
Farmer, Andrew Evans and consultant, Paul Fox survey the site

A North Shropshire farmer has applied for planning permission to put a wind turbine on his land.

Andrew Evans believes it will save him as much as £25,000 a year in electricity costs on his dairy farm at Grindley Brook near Whitchurch.

If his application is approved by Shropshire Council next month he will be able to start work on the £200,000 scheme.

He hopes the 50kw turbine will pay for itself over the next seven years.

We can make a living, but margins are very tight at the moment. This is one reason why we are looking at other options to secure our future
Andrew Evans

The farm was in the hands of Mr Evans wife, Janet's family, from 1916 until around eight years ago when the couple took it over.

They decided to change the focus of the business: "We had a look at the future. It needed investment at the time and we decided that the dairy route was the one to take."

They now have 800 milking cows: "We can make a living, but margins are very tight at the moment. This is one reason why we are looking at other options to secure our future."

Saving money on electricity seemed to be an obvious choice. Mr Evans said costs had doubled over the past three years and were likely to rise again.

Big energy consumers

Andrew and Janet Evans and Paul Fox
Andrew and Janet Evans with consultant Paul Fox at Bubney Farm

Paul Fox is a farm management consultant who has a special interest in renewable energy products: "Dairy farms in particular are big energy consumers.

"Milking is the obvious bit really, but they also heat water to clean the parlour and they also cool milk and that's very demanding in terms of energy.

"There are a lot of opportunities... to use renewable energy as a way of providing that energy for the farm."

He said it made farms more sustainable and carbon friendly in the long term: "It future-proofs their business against rising energy costs."

The electricity produced by the 25m turbine would also qualify for the government's Feed in Tariff Scheme which supports production of renewable energy.

Shropshire Council will make a decision on the application in October and Mr Evans hopes, if it is approved he will be producing his own electricity within six months.


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