North-east dairy farmers diversify with wind energy

Posted on 23 August 2012

Dairy farmers Bruce and Jane Mackie of Middleton of Rora, Peterhead, have recently commissioned an 80m wind turbine as a new diversification venture for their farming business.

The farm is made up of a 160 strong herd of dairy cows, 300 acres of cereals and farm cottages that have been converted into holiday let accommodation.

 From the outset, focus was on developing a single large scale wind turbine. This size of development produces a meaningful amount of electricity, whilst keeping the ownership within the farm.

Robert Kennedy, Project Manager from The Greenspan Agency said: “We have always encouraged farmers to develop large scale wind turbines themselves. There are two key driving factors behind this.

“From the Mackie’s point of view owning the turbine will deliver far better returns than leasing the land to a developer.

“From a wider economic point of view the support for wind turbines at this scale, through the feed-in-tariff scheme, is almost a third of the support given to small turbine installations.

“As a result, large turbines will always be more sustainable.”

Planning consent for the development which had strong local support was granted by the Buchan area Committee on 21 June 2011.

Soon after the decision, work started on the engineering, procurement and construction phase.

Part of this process involves selecting a turbine, Bruce and Jane decided to go for Enercon’s E48-800kW model. There were a number of reasons for this including the success that Enercon have had in the area on similar developments, which has led to them building a strong service and maintenance team.

Sourcing a turbine from an established supplier is another good reason for developing large turbines.

The turbine was delivered in April this year following construction of the access road, foundation and crane hard-standing, as well as the grid connection.

On 1 June 2012 the turbine exported its first unit of electricity, much to the delight of all involved.

Bruce commented on the day: “I am delighted to see the blades turning and the meter clocking up the units. Distributed generation of renewable energy at a meaningful size makes good business sense.

“Greenspan have done a full and thorough job managing the project from first inception through to generation.”