Adam Twine, a founder and director of the Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit, has been nominated for the 2013 Farmers Weekly Awards Green Farmer of the Year.
The full article can be read here, but below is the Farmers Weekly’s profile by Gemma Mackenzie:
FCCT's Adam Twine
Many would think overseeing and directing the planning and construction of the UK's largest community-owned wind farm would constitute "doing your bit" for green energy generation. However, for Adam Twine, this was only the beginning.
Building on the success and learning behind the 6.5MW wind farm - installed five years ago following 12 years of relentless work to get the community on board, as well as an expensive and lengthy planning process - Adam has gone further and created the largest community-owned solar farm in the UK on his 485ha organic farm.
Sitting alongside the five 1.3MW turbines, which are owned by more than 2,500 people through the Westmill Wind Co-op, a total of 5MW of ground-mounted solar PV was installed in July 2011.
The solar farm is owned by 1,600 people, as part of the Westmill Solar Co-op, with finance arranged through a novel debt funding model in the form of a 25-year £10m bond from a county council pension fund.
The wind farm generates approximately 11GWh/year, while the solar array generates 4.8GWh/year. Combined, the two projects have CO2 savings equivalent to 3,900 homes' annual electricity use.
As a result of these two community-owned projects, more than 7,000 people have visited the farm through the Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust - a sustainability charity mainly funded by the wind farm, with Adam acting as an advisor.
The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and raise awareness of renewables within a 25-mile radius of the farm. In his advisory role, Adam is assisting the local parish council on both energy reduction and solar PV installation.
"It's about making a low-carbon future," says Adam. "The aim is to inspire and inform."
Smaller-scale green energy efforts on the mixed beef, dairy and arable enterprise include 30kW of roof-mounted solar PV installed a year ago to feed into farm electricity use, as well as off-grid solar panels installed more than 15 years ago to pump dirty water to a reed bed system designed for cleaning dairy yard washings.
Adam says the two drivers behind these projects were to diversify farm income streams and also to extend his personal climate change campaigning work.
Future aspirations include plans to replace farm vehicles with electric ones to harness the energy produced by the solar PV, the possibility of installing a ground-source heating system in the loose-housed dairy shed and installation of a waste heat recovery system in the dairy later this year.
He is working with the National Trust - 300ha of the farm is owned by the trust, with Adam and his family on a lifetime tenancy - to upgrade farm cottages and make them more energy efficient.
Natural resource use is also paramount on the farm and a borehole, dug last year, has cut the farm's mains water consumption by 50%. Adam has also made the conscious decision to only purchase fertiliser from factories with guaranteed nitrous oxide abatement technology.
He also hopes to try to reduce emissions by trying different soil cultivation techniques, with the added benefit of using less diesel.
"We mill and mix our own oats and beans to reduce the amount of imported feedstocks brought onto the farm and do not use soya, which can be associated with high greenhouse gas emissions, associated with land use change overseas," says Adam.
In a bid to extend his knowledge, passion and enthusiasm to other farmers, Adam was involved in setting up the Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit (FCCT) in 2009. A not-for-profit organisation, the FCCT aims to provide support and free advice to farmers about reducing farm greenhouse gas emissions.
He also speaks regularly at farmer events to promote on-farm renewables, occasionally takes part in Open Farm Sunday and the farm is under an HLS agreement, with trees, hedgerows and wild flowers being planted.