Farmers pick up windfall from turbines

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RECORD breaking high winds in December have provided a financial boost for farmers with power-generating turbines installed on their land.

Figures provided by Earthmill, a company which supplies turbines, showed their fleet of over 100 turbines sited on UK farms generated 2668 MW Hours of electricity in December, enough power to supply a town of 9,600 homes for 30 days or 800 homes for a whole year.

“High winds undoubtedly caused problems for many people in December but for farmers who have installed turbines the silver lining proved to be record incomes from electricity generation and big savings on power bills too,” said Steve Milner, Earthmill managing director.

He added: “New data clearly highlights the benefits of diversification to farmers with land for small, farm- scale turbines.”

“As well as generating power worth over £600,000 in just one month, the turbines we manage also attracted discounts on electricity bills worth more than £200,000, equivalent to an average of £2,000 per farm in December alone.”

The December power generation averaged £6,000 per farm turbine, but varied according to farm position and the type, size and capacity of turbine installed.

Many farmers have high electricity usage. Significant levels of power generated by wind can deliver valuable savings to their operational costs, with any extra being fed back into the grid providing additional income.

Mr Milner said poultry, pig and dairy farmers, who typically consume the most power, stand to make the most from turbines.

“With rising electricity costs adding pressure to farm revenues the steady increase in demand for new turbines looks set to continue throughout 2014 and beyond,” he added.

Earthmill launched a £10m fund to provide finance for up to 100 farm turbines in November 2013.

Farmers and landowners can choose to buy and install turbines themselves, secure finance for the capital expenditure or rent their land to third parties who take on all of the costs and risk over a lease term. This allows farmers without access to large sums of capital to enter the electricity generation market for the first time.