Rural supply business, Countrywide, has launched a new green energy division aimed at farmers wanting to establish renewable energy projects.
The Worcester-based firm, which specialises in products and services for the rural community, announced the new service nine months after buying the specialist energy firm 7Y Services, saying it aimed to become “a leading farm and renewable energy company in the UK within 18 months.”
Countrywide’s renewable energy director, Julian Morgan, said with more farmers and rural homeowners looking for ways to avoid spiralling electricity costs, renewable energy systems, including solar, were increasingly appealing. Mr Morgan runs a woodchip boiler, a wind turbine and solar energy system on his own Herefordshire farm.
“Our background in 7Y demonstrates we’re in this for the long term and we can actually demonstrate these technologies to farmers where we’ve established them already,” he said.
“And if introducing these technologies can generate an income stream as well, it’s even more valuable.
“We could be in a situation in three to four years where demand for electricity exceeds supply at some peak times. And it’s possible that energy could become very expensive at those peaks.”
Countrywide offers an advice, design and installation service and systems on offer range from biomass pellet boilers for domestic or commercial use, wood fuel supply, 100% green electricity or self-generation equipment.
The launch of the service coincides with the commencement in September of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, which offers financial incentives to business energy users to install renewable heat technology including solid biomass, ground and water source heat pumps, solar thermal installations, biogas combustion and biomethane injection.
Proponents of RHI claim that it will help the UK reduce carbon emissions and achieve internationally binding renewable energy targets.
Energy regulator Ofgem has conducted a consultation process about how the RHI will operate in practice and, subject to parliamentary approval, the first RHI applications will be accepted at the end of September.
A spokesman for the Energy Advice Line, the UK’s first price comparison and switching service for businesses, said renewable energy technology, while worth considering, was unaffordable for many rural businesses that were struggling in a tough economic climate.
The spokesman said that one cost-free way for businesses to reduce their energy bills was to compare commercial gas and commercial electricity prices when their contracts came up for renewal, and to switch suppliers.
“Switching suppliers can be a completely cost-free way of substantially reducing business energy bills,” the Energy Advice Line spokesman said.
“Impartial services like the Energy Advice Line offer free independent advice, and enable businesses to compare the market and switch suppliers at the click of a button.”