SW Farmers – don’t miss out on free renewable energy consultancy!

Farmers in the south west of England are eligible for free and discounted consultancy through the Resource Efficiency for Farms (R4F) scheme delivered by Rural Focus. This is an amazing opportunity and we at Crops for Energy are constantly amazed by how few farmers know about the service.

This support package involves a FREE visit to a farm holding to assess their usage of heat, power, tractor diesel and water. As part of the process recommendations for efficiency savings are made in an action plan. The action plan goes into quite some detail and provides an indication of the likely cost of a measure, the savings that it will bring and the time that such a venture will take to payback. The action plan also provides details of grants and signposting to websites of interest and details of relevant contacts.

Following the completion of the action plan the farmer can request two further days of discounted technical support costing £150 per day plus VAT.  The technical support can be used to produce a feasibility study for installing renewable technologies such as biomass boilers, solar, small wind, anaerobic digestion, work up a brief for installers to quote against and provide independent advice on the best deal.

Kevin Lindegaard of Crops for Energy is one of the consultants enlisted under this umbrella and tends to be called on for farmers who are specifically interested in biomass boilers and energy crops.

This is what you could get as part of the technical support package for just £300 plus VAT:

1 day option

  • Site visit to discuss biomass boiler types (pellet, log, chip)
  • Boiler sizing and fuel requirements
  • Short report summarising options, potential capital costs and savings and land requirement for producing woodfuel from woodlands or growing dedicated energy crops.

2 day option – includes day 1 activities plus the following:

  • More fuller biomass boiler feasibility looking at the practicalities and economics
  • Size boiler according to optimum heat load,
  • Identify suitable location for boiler and fuel store,
  • Work out fuel requirement, fuel store size and interim storage requirement
  • Estimate the frequency of fuel deliveries and amount of ash to be disposed of
  • Estimate annual rebate value from the Renewable Heat Incentive,
  • Estimate annual savings compared to fossil fuels,
  • Estimate system cost and payback,
  • Provide technical information and pros and cons of suitable boilers,
  • Request budget quotes from 1-2 suppliers

You can read a blog on how Crops for Energy helped one farmer through the scheme here

You can find out more about the scheme by visiting the Rural Focus website or by calling 08456 047 047.  In order to qualify you need to be able to answer yes to the following questions:

  • Are you a farmer or horticultural business?
  • Is your annual turnover more than £20,000?

So far around 1,500 action plans have been completed. However, there are around 25,000 farm holdings in the SW so the take up has been about 6%. Be quick though as the funding ends September 2013.