Stephen Ramsden and his son with their
Nidderrdale wind turbine
THE winds of change are blowing across the moors of the Yorkshire Dales as one landowner harnesses a plentiful supply of renewable energy.
Stephen Ramsden, who owns 5,500 acres of land at Middlesmoor near Pateley Bridge, is calling on all landowners and farmers to consider alternative energy sources following the successful installation of a wind turbine on his land.
In addition to generating enough power to cover all of his domestic electrical costs, Stephen will sell any surplus energy he generates back to the National Grid. The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is backing the Nidderdale farmer in his bid to champion the uptake of renewable energy resources - a potentially profitable source of income for the farming community.
Stephen said: "Climate change is having a considerable impact on the upland environment. Milder winters have already cut our average yearly grouse numbers to half of what they were 20 years ago. This is one of the many reasons why we need to take action for the future of the human race.
"Upland rural areas have great potential to contribute towards micro energy schemes such as wind and hydro-energy generation and I would urge anyone with suitable land to consider getting involved in this arena."
Stephen's 6kw wind turbine cost in the region of £20,000 to install - £5,000 of which was covered by a grant from the Low Carbon Trust. It is estimated that the turbine will generate between 10 and 15,000kwh per year, half of which will be sold back to the National Grid at a pre-agreed rate of just over 11p per kwh.
On top of this, Stephen is also paid via the OFGEM Renewable Energy Certificate scheme at 4.5p for every kwh produced.
Based on these figures, Stephen predicts that the cost of installing the turbine will be covered within five to seven years: "The turbine is totally automatic with only a minimal amount of maintenance once a year and should last for around 25 years. In addition to the environmental benefits, this is also a great diversification project that will provide an additional income for me over a number of years."
I would encourage anyone with land that meets these criteria to consider the benefits of natural energy
Dorothy Fairburn - CLA
Dorothy Fairburn, regional director for the CLA in Yorkshire, said: "Sustainable energy production is an issue that affects us all and I am delighted one of our members has decided to take action.
"Wind turbines must be situated on sites that are not obstructed by trees or buildings and where they will not have a significant visual impact on the local environment in order to meet planning guidelines. I would encourage anyone with land that meets these criteria to consider the benefits of natural energy production."
Anyone who is considering installing a wind turbine can contact Stephen Ramsden for advice through the CLA regional office on 01347 823803 or email firstname.lastname@example.org