Andrew Miller comes from a long line of dairy farmers who have been farming in the Aspatria area of Cumbria for over 300 years and have established several successful businesses, one of which is supplying and distributing nationwide. Constructing and commissioning an anaerobic digester was the natural expansionary step in securing a stable and guaranteed income in what is a common challenge for all dairy farmers. The 500KWh digester was commissioned in June 2016 and draws on feedstocks across different areas of the farm such as maize and silage grass from the open fields and slurry from the dairy herd.
The Millers diversified enterprise can now deliver ‘clean’ electricity to the national grid whilst creating a sustainable waste management solution on the farm.
The fully commissioned AD plant has opened a range of new market opportunities for the farm and facilitated the expansion of the business. The digestate output is dried, then reused for bedding the farms cattle during the winter months. Some of this after it comes out of the sheds is put back through the digestor as a feedstock, the reminder is spread back on the land and is a very useful source of fertilizer. The dried digestate replaces straw which in the past was previously bought in, this makes a huge saving for the farm.
The Miller’s wider place as a green enterprise has been solidified by the recent installation of a 3MW ground source heat pump. Electricity generated by the digester provides the pump with enough energy to start heating underground water pipes which can then warm the cow sheds through the cold Cumbrian winters and generate electricity exported to the grid. Through further investment into renewable energy, the farm shows their commitments to sustainability whilst maximising energy efficiency.
The AD plants export volume has been consistent in the first half of the year and is in a solid position going into winter 2019. The Miller’s AD plant can power 910 households with electricity and could meet ⅔ of the domestic energy demand for the local town of Aspatria. The plant is of great importance to the local area as a green source of energy, capable of delivering base-load electricity.
A common challenge faced by small-scale anaerobic digestion operators is to receive a reliable revenue. Optimised Energy were therefore asked by the Millers to maximise long-term profits from exports whilst securing on-time subsidy payments to address the challenge of financial stability. Optimised Energy formalised the Miller’s export contacts and secured the initial Feed in Tariff (FIT) subsidy.
The farm is in a strong position having invested in further renewable energy developments and can now capitalise on subsidy payments whilst receiving the highest price for their exported electricity. With assistance from Optimised Energy , the Millers have capitalised through diligent trading and have a reliable revenue from subsidies through their expanding renewable energy venture.
The export of renewable energy is subject to the complexities of the wider UK energy platform and volatile market drivers. If you’ve been used to standard fixed price purchase agreements from utilities or brokers, you’re not realising the full value of the renewable energy you produce. From anaerobic digestion to wind and solar, Optimised Energy's award winning Renewables Team can help you get the highest price for the energy you generate, whilst protecting you from the risk of market downturns.
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