Renewable Energy

Sustainable Energy at Sheepdrove 

Sheepdrove Organic Farm believe that to continue relying on fossil fuels is not sustainable. We believe that everyone should make an effort to use more clean and renewable sources of energy where they can.

Together, a mix of renewable energy options- solar and wind, and improved energy efficiency help to meet the farm’s heating and electricity demands. We're always striving to shrink our ‘Carbon Footprint’ - the amount of greenhouse gases created by the farm's activities.

Sustainable development

Our goal that a mix of renewables - including wind and solar power should supply 100% of our energy needs at the Eco Centre, and a considerable percentage of energy use on the rest of the farm. Our two wind turbines make a valuable contribution to our energy needs but in a way that is acceptable within the North Wessex Downs Area Of Natural Beauty.

Our achievements so far

Energy is just part of the farm’s efforts to continuously improve how environmentally sustainable its activities are. Sheepdrove has also become more sustainable with achievements such as:

  • Two 5kw wind turbines
  • Solar panels providing a total of 210kW to the farm
  • Some electric powered vehicles  
  • Eco-friendly materials and architecture for Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre
  • Energy-saving design such as with passive (non powered) ventilation within Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre
  • Water efficiency in Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre and around the farm
  • Our reedbed system to clean and recycle wastewater
  • Creating wildlife habitats throughout the farm
  • Managing the farm through Higher Level Environmental Stewardship
  • Promoting sustainability through school visits and adult education 
  • Planting thousands of trees and miles of hedges
  • ......and of course we farm organically!

For some years Sheepdrove Organic Farm has successfully used solar heating to reduce our fuel needs for our farm offices and conference centre, heat exchangers in our kitchen, and solar cells to charge batteries for our automatic chicken shed lights.

Work with Forum for the Future looked at the farm's energy use and lots of renewable energy ideas. This helped us to prioritise solutions such as waste digestors, bio-fuels, heat exchangers, Sterling engines, solar electricity and small-scale wind power.

We also had help from The Carbon Trust who funded an energy efficiency survey at the farm.All our studies are helping us to decide how to take forward our work with energy, so we can be truly sustainable at Sheepdrove.

Energy Production At Sheepdrove

At Sheepdrove, we are driven by a passion for sustainable farming. We are constantly seeking ways to reduce our carbon footprint and are extremely excited about our expanding sustainable energy projects, harnessing power from the sun and the wind, two things we have plenty of up here on the Berkshire Downs! We installed our first wind turbine in August 2012, the second turbine followed in 2013. 

Above: An elegant addition to the stunning view from the farmhouse.

Drakes Renewables were our advisors throughout this process, from obtaining planning consent through to installing and commissioning the turbine.

The turbines sit on 15m towers and we estimate that each will produce 21,000 kwh a year.

In Summer 2013 we also installed an array of over 500 solar panels on the roof of one of our cattle sheds, followed by 3 other smaller solar banks on our grains stores and bakery. Added to our existing solar panels, these will produce a total of 210kw. 

We estimate that between our solar panels and wind turbines, we will generate in excess of approximately 520kwh of energy per day, and a whopping 186,000kwh per year.

This is a carbon footprint saving of at least 7102 tonnes of CO2 being put into the atmosphere, something which we are extremely proud of.

Future Projects

We have more spans for sustainable energy production in the near future, including more solar panels, including a solar tracker, which will be located at the Eco-Conference Centre, and which will turn to face the sun throughout the day, maximising the production of energy.