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Cheese company powers ahead with wind

Double act: Tom and Simon Jones now generate enough power to meet the needs of their Lincolnshire dairy farm and sell some back to the grid with a Vergnet wind turbine
Double act: Tom and Simon Jones now generate enough power to meet the needs of their Lincolnshire dairy farm and sell some back to the grid with a Vergnet wind turbine

A dairy farm in Lincolnshire that supplies two tonnes of cheese annually to Jamie Oliver is benefiting financially and environmentally after embracing wind power.

The family-owned business, currently run by Simon and Tim Jones, has farmed at Ulceby Grange for 100 years and in 1992 started producing Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese, used in the Jamie Oliver chain of Union Jacks restaurants across the UK.

As part of a strategy to introduce renewable power onto the farm, the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Machynlleth, Wales was commissioned to undertake a review of the business and to advise on the most appropriate technology to meet its energy needs – and reduce the £40,000 a year electricity bill.

With advisors at CAT recommending wind power as the most appropriate solution, Simon Jones contacted Northallerton-based ICE Renewables.

ICE Renewables installed a Vergnet wind turbine at Ulceby Grange 12 months ago and the farm is now generating enough electricity to meet the needs of the farm and to sell back to the grid. The whole project cost £750,000, which is expected to be paid pack in seven years.

Simon Jones said: “It is amazing to be milking cows and making cheese using the power of the wind.  There is a simple pleasure to be had from having the wind blowing through your hair and knowing that we have the technology on our farm to capture this.

“With the help of ICE Renewables and Vergnet we are able to use an abundant natural resource to generate our own electricity on the farm and that is hugely exciting.”

Julian Martin, ceo of ICE Renewables and Chair of Renewable UK’s Small and Medium Wind Energy Strategy Group, added: “This has been a fantastic project for ICE to be involved with as the turbine is making such a difference at Ulceby Grange Farm.  This is the first installation of this turbine anywhere in the world and we are seeing this turbine’s performance exceed expectations.

“Medium wind turbines offer excellent returns for farmers, landowners, communities and businesses.  With the FIT rate due to reduce in April 2014 now is the time to start a project to install a turbine.”