Jonathan Sharp is a dairy farmer from Yorkshire and supplies well known supermarket chain Asda (owned by Walmart) through Arla with fresh British dairy produce. Asda are keen to become as environmentally friendly as possible throughout their sales chain, beginning with the supplier and, following an audit at his farm, Sharp was advised to look into renewable energy.
After looking into several renewable energy avenues Sharp decided to pursue wind power and set about purchasing a 50kW Endurance E-3120 wind turbine. “All businesses need to grow to survive and we were at a bit of an impass,” comments Sharp, “We milk 125 cows and both land and labour wise could go no further. In order to expand we would have needed to double cow number to 250 to justify another full time man, and that would have cost a very similar amount to the turbine without factoring in buying any extra land.”
Tewitt Hall Farm is located in the outreaches of Bradford against the breath-taking backdrop of the Brontë landscape. Owing largely to the cultural value of the area, planning permission took Sharp and wind turbine supplier Earthmill a year and a half to achieve. Arla, keen to encourage the use of renewable energy in the ASDA supply chain, also provided a letter of support for the application. Sharp maintained a conscientious dedication to ensuring that the visual impact of the turbine was as minimal as possible on the famous landscape and worked closely with the local landscape officer throughout the process.
Installation of the turbine was completed and commissioned at the end of November 2012. Within the first two and a half months of operation the turbine produced 57,000kW of green electricity which went straight into powering Sharp’s farm, saving 3.6 tons of carbon. Sharp also reported that his winter electricity bill was less than a third of normal.
As well as the environmental and financial benefits of the turbine, there is also a huge benefit to Sharp’s business. Having done the equivalent of doubling his diary herd without having to expand or put in any more labour time, Sharp can potentially hire another full time employee for his farm from the local community. Furthermore, Sharp estimates that the turbine has made his business secure for another generation.
Says Sharp, “With no children as yet I wasn’t very keen to have a large debt to service which probably would not be paid back till I was sixty… I would say the turbine has ensured that the Sharp family stay at Tewitt Hall for at least another generation yet!”