Herd House Riding School was established in 1990 and is based near Briercliffe, in Lancashire. Herd House specialises in training for horse and pony handling, grooming and riding, and additionally provides on-site holiday cottage accommodation. As is currently the case with many small rural businesses, Herd House was under pressure from rising energy prices and was keen to reduce these costs as much as possible. Opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of the site and holiday accommodation were limited and the owner, Catherine Billington, was therefore keen to investigate renewable energy opportunities. Given the upland location and apparent wind resource on-site, Catherine identified that a small wind turbine may help to reduce these costs.
With many issues to consider, Catherine requested advice from UCLan’s Wind-Tech project, based within the School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences. The Wind-Tech project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and provides support to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) interested in investing in a small scale wind turbine. Wind-Tech also provides free assistance to businesses involved with the development of new small wind technologies and those looking to enter the supply chain and to date the project has assisted over 50 businesses.
The Wind-Tech Project Engineer met Catherine in April 2012 and provided technical advice in relation to available wind resource, blade length and hub height as well as information on the prospective power output of a range of small wind turbines. In July, Catherine was granted planning permission for two 10KW Evoco turbines, which were installed in November (pictured) and commissioned in January 2013. The groundwork for the turbines was undertaken by Herd House, with the turbine manufacturer constructing, erecting and commissioning the turbines and connection to the grid, as well as equipping a separate control room, constructed by Herd House.
Based upon estimates from the manufacturers, a payback period of five years is anticipated by Herd House, as a result of dramatically reduced energy bills, and income generated as a result of Feed-In Tariff (FiT) payments when the turbines output surplus power. As well as providing these financial benefits, Herd House is now able to demonstrate to prospective holiday makers that it operates sustainably by generating its own power. In an age when the importance of environmental sustainability is recognised and individuals are keen to minimise their own carbon footprints, this may prove to be an additional selling point for Herd House, with potential customers looking for a low carbon holiday.
Catherine commented: ‘As a small business, we are particularly sensitive to rising energy costs and therefore decided to investigate renewable energy opportunities. We are delighted to have installed two turbines and hope to work further with the Wind-Tech project to monitor their performance over time.’
The Wind-Tech Project Engineer, Dr. Matt Stables, commented that ‘in a period of economic difficulty, it is encouraging to see businesses such as Herd House recognising the financial benefits that small-scale wind energy technology can bring, and proceed with inward investment and installation. With a good wind resource on site, the benefits for Herd House should be considerable and we look forward to monitoring their progress.’
For more information on the Wind-Tech project and how it can assist your business, please contact David Ainsworth, Project Officer, on 01772 895390 or DAinsworth@uclan.ac.uk