RM Energy holds ‘turbine tour’ after Fife farmers win wind-farm planning battle

RM Energy logoPerth-based RM Energy – which helped Fife farmers Tim and Rob Stockwell install a WTN250 turbine last year at their Crail farm – are holding a ‘turbine tour’ this Thursday (20 February).

Discussions will centre around medium wind projects at this scale, issues faced and how they were overcome, while on the turbine visit discussion will revolve around the turbine, technical specifications, installation issues, civil and electrical issues.

Representatives from other project partners, including Green Cat Renewables and Laurence Gould Consultants, will also be on hand to answer questions

RM Energy is a Scottish company established as a partnership between Realise Renewables and Mosscliff Environmental to provide Scottish clients with renewable solutions that include only tried-and-tested renewable energy products with reliable supply chains.

Tim and Rob Stockwell farm around 1,300 acres with the land divided between fruit, vegetables and arable crops.  The fruit – strawberries, raspberries and blackberries – are put into cold-store between April and October while the vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage – are cold-stored from June through to December.  Their two cold stores are therefore running for much of the year. 

Supporting the fruit and veg requires a casual labour force of around 200 workers many of whom live on-site in mobile homes heated electrically.  The grain dryer is also used extensively in the Autumn.  As a result of these energy-hungry activities, the farm has an annual electricity consumption of over 600,000 units.

“Given our coastal, exposed location, harvesting the wind to control our rising energy bills was an obvious solution” says Tim Stockwell.  “However it hasn’t been an easy ride over the last few years, that’s for sure.”

The partnership took their first steps towards a farm-scale wind solution when the Government feed-in tariff scheme was introduced almost two years ago.  However achieving planning consent was far from straightforward even with the assistance of planning consultants, Laurence Gould Partnership (LGP). 

Originally the intention was to put up a 500kW machine due to its higher output.  However, planning regulations in the area limit turbine tip heights to less than 50m. They then looked at a range of options in the 225-250kW space. After further delays due to bat risks, their planning application was refused by the council planning committee, they appealed to the Scottish Government and won.

Around this time they were introduced to Green Cat Renewables. “They really appeared to know what they were talking about and gave us the confidence to move forward” says Tim.  Greencat suggested Tim consider the WTN250 turbine which had started to be sold into the Scottish market by local firm, RM Energy (RME). 

“We looked into the technology and the manufacturer, we met the management team at WTN and RME, and we liked what we saw. Costs, over 10 years, were comparable with other turbines on the market.  We liked the fact it had a reliable track record over 20 years and was designed and built in Germany to standards set by GL 2010 certification.  Output, for us, was around 700,000 units per year which is effectively the amount we currently buy from the grid.”

The turbine was installed in November 2013 by RME with support from WTN.  Mark Jennison, RME’s Operations Director, said: “Finally the Stockwell farm has a turbine to take advantage of its excellent wind resource.  Hopefully the latter stages of this project have gone rather better than the earlier ones. This should give others a confidence boost that this medium wind scale is well worth considering.”

Tim Stockwell added “It’s taken us a lot of effort to get to this stage but we firmly believe we made the right choice of suppliers working with RME, and Green Cat – turbine installation has gone very smoothly and we’re looking forward to having greater control over our energy bills in future years.

smoothly and we’re looking forward to having greater control over our energy bills in future years.

RM Energy is organising a site visit to the WTN wind farm factory near Flensburg, Germany, next week.

For more information: enquiries@rm-energy.co.uk

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