"Made in Scotland from Renewables" powers food and drink industry

by Search Gate staff. Published Tue 17 Jun 2014 11:02, Last updated: 2014-06-17
Farmlay Eggs are one of Scotland's "clean dozen"

The increasing number of Scottish food and drink companies powering their businesses using renewable energy is to be highlighted at this year’s Royal Highland Show.

“Made in Scotland from Renewables” is a new initiative from trade body, Scottish Renewables, to showcase 12 farms and food producers who are leading the shift to green energy generation.

The companies – dubbed the “clean dozen” and including well-known names like ice cream maker Mackie’s – are using a range of technologies, including wind power, solar energy, biomass and hydro.

Food and drink is one of Scotland’s key business sectors and has been earmarked to grow into a £16.5 billion industry by 2017. The 12 companies in the initiative include Scottish classics like porridge oats, represented by both Hamlyns of Scotland in Banffshire and The Oatmeal of Alford, which uses hydro-electricity to power its mill in Aberdeenshire.

The list of case studies was drawn up by East Coast Renewables, a group of five Scottish local authorities – Aberdeenshire, Angus, Fife, Perth & Kinross and East Lothian councils.

Iain Todd of East Coast Renewables said: “In assembling these cases, we were really impressed by the choice that exists – this evolution is really happening, with some farms using two or three different renewable technologies. We could easily have had many more such cases – and next year we may well do so.”

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “This is a great initiative involving two modern-day Scottish success stories – renewable energy and the food and drink sector. I am delighted an increasing number of companies in this fast-growing sector recognise the tremendous economic and environmental benefits from powering their businesses using renewable energy.

“We are finding that businesses using renewable technologies on site are getting payback on their investment in just a few short years, meaning they are saving money in the long run.”

Mr Stuart added: “There are four persuasive reasons why these food businesses are moving to renewable generation; to lower their energy costs in the future, to reduce their carbon footprint, to potentially generate income – and because consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental credentials of everything they buy.”

Mackie’s was one of the early adopters of wind power and Finance Director Gerry Stephens said: “Making ice cream uses a lot of energy, so we set out to make up for that by using renewables – and we have become one of the greenest companies in the UK.”

The company, based in Rothienorman, Aberdeenshire, has three Vestas 850 kilowatt (kW) wind turbines (with permission for a fourth) as well as 174 kW of solar power on the roofs of farm buildings, with further permission granted for a solar farm of 1.8 megawatts. Mr Stephens said the switch to renewables had reaped massive energy savings: “We have a very good, windy site and high efficiency levels. Our power bill without renewable energy would be around £500,000 and we are actually paying about £150,000.”

Maitland Mackie, Chairman of the firm, who died last month aged 76, was an enthusiastic pioneer of wind power in rural Scotland. “He saw the benefits of renewables and was an early adopter of wind turbines and always happy to share his experiences with others in the farming community,” said Mr Stephens.

Farmlay Eggs in Strichen, Aberdeenshire, has an 800KW and a 350kw wind turbine and a 950KW biomass plant (which powers the rearing unit) on site and Jillian Eunson from the firm said: “Both have helped us to make significant savings – and once everything was planned out, installation was not a long process, about two months for the large turbine and ten weeks for the biomass plant. Also, consumers these days are very conscious of the environmental credentials of what they buy.”

Gordon Hastie of Alderston Dairies in Haddington, East Lothian, said he was prompted to install renewable energy by a combination of economic and environmental considerations. He explained: “In 2017, we installed an Endurance wind turbine to meet our electricity needs. This was supplemented in 2015 by solar PV panels. Most recently – in 2013 – we’ve installed a wood chip biomass boiler to heat buildings. These are all proving to be worthwhile investments.”

Ian Crombie of Over Rankeilour Farms in Cupar, Fife, has already installed a wind turbine to power his cold stores for potatoes and vegetables as well as a grain dryer. He also has a biomass boiler to heat buildings – but he is still looking to the future. He said: “I look forward to a time when technology can allow the storage of generated electricity at the farm to meet the needs of fluctuating requirements, and create a truly energy-independent operation.”

Made in Scotland from Renewables is hosted at the Royal Highland Show by The McDermott Group. Its Operations Manager Mark Williams said: ”The McDermott Group are delighted to be associated with this initiative. As the main sponsors of the renewables and eco village at the Royal Highland Show, the McDermott Group are a leading installer of renewable technologies and understand the significant economic and environmental benefit to farmers in the food and drink sector installing renewable technologies.”

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Comments about "Made in Scotland from Renewables" powers food and drink industry

This is a great idea, love it when people use renewable resources.
Jane , Seattle around 1 week, 5 days ago

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