We are reducing our nursery electricity mains consumption with our own renewable wind generated supply. There are three 11KW turbines in a row above the nursery at approx 90 degrees to the prevailing wind. The turbines are classified as ‘small’ and are specially designed for inland power generation; the turbine masts are 18m tall and the blade diameter is 13m.
than the turbines themselves, the only other kit is a small control box
at the bottom of each tower, the new cable running underground from the
turbines to the nursery and a new import/export meter replacing the previous
meter. This allows us to export surplus energy into the national grid.
The turbines are estimated to produce between 75,000 and 90,000KWhr per
annum, approximately 80% of our current consumption. In addition we are
also aiming to reduce our overall consumption on the nursery, to reduce
We started the nursery business in 1984, it covers approx 10 acres and currently employs 22 permanent staff (13 full time) increasing to 32 employees during peak periods. We produce a wide range of perennials and herbs grown in coir fibre pots and a range of young plants produced in our own micropropagation laboratory for supplying other growers around the UK.
The micropropagation laboratory is the unit that uses the majority of the power with air conditioned growth rooms and electrical lab equipment. We have a 24hr demand for power to run the growth rooms, although usage is higher during the working day. The unit is amongst a select few in the UK specialising in the bulking up of perennial crops for nurseries that wish to introduce new varieties to the market.
The wholesale ornamental horticultural sector has experienced challenging trading conditions over the past 7 years with very tight margins and low returns. In response, over the last 6 years, we have been developing our own specialist market, aiming to be far more eco friendly. We introduced waxed card marketing trays, now superseded by our new reusable/returnable wooden trays, we moved from growing in plastic pots to coir fibre pots and introduced our own in-house printed wooden descriptive and price labels. These major production changes have gone hand in hand with a drive to try and become more sustainable within the company as a whole. We recycle a huge proportion of our waste, have built ponds and planted hedges to encourage wildlife and natural predation of crop pests. The installation of the wind turbines is part of our continuing efforts to make a positive contribution to our community and environment within the restraints of running a viable business.
In a district where the carbon footprint per head of population is particularly high, this project would make a significant local difference, saving over 50 tonnes of carbon dioxide production each year. As one of the most progressive suppliers in our market we are keen to promote more eco-friendly ways of doing things.
We really believe that renewable energy generation will play a vital role in the future as the world attempts to move away from burning fossil fuels. We are fortunate to have access to a prime site and the opportunity to set up a local, renewable and clean energy source.
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