Six farmers have been rewarded for their resourceful renewable energy installations, each winning a £500 cash prize at the inaugural Energy Now Awards 2016.
With the recent tariff cuts the sector has seen, it’s easy to forget those passionate individuals who are pioneers in the industry, forging ahead, and benefitting from inventive installations.
And the winners were clear that support for the renewable energy industry is crucial. On receiving the award for Best Hydro Scheme, Charles Hudson, who farms in Worcestershire, made an impassioned plea to the government to ‘listen up’.
“I feel passionately about renewables, and believe they’re key to a sustainable future. We need to harness the natural resources we have. I’m appalled at the way the current government is threatening the sector. They should be investing in us, because there’s a huge amount of public enthusiasm for generating energy from natural resources,” says Charles.
Charles farms on the banks of the River Avon and, after suffering devastating floods in 1998, and 2007, he decided to use the water rather than be defeated by it. He now powers the local leisure centre, and sells any surplus generated to the grid, and this goes to power local houses.
Howard Jones, arable farmer from Shropshire, took away the award for best biomass scheme. He believes that the awards are vital in highlighting individuals in the renewable sector who’re driving the industry forward.
“It’s important to recognise the people who have success in renewables, and it can be daunting when you first start out – but it’s worked for us, and we have a 199KW HDG biomass boiler which is automatically fuelled by woodchip. The system provides all the heat and hot water for the farmhouse, and our three holiday cottages,” says Howard.
Judging these awards were three industry experts, Tom Beeley, CLA renewables advisor, Dr Jonathan Scurlock, NFU renewables advisor, and Darren Edwards, Fisher German partner. Handing out the prizes was Andrew Ward MBE, who heads up Forage Aid, the Energy Now Expo partner charity. The charity benefitted on the night with tomato growers John and Caroline Jones (below) handing over their winners cheque to Forage Aid.