- Fourth generation family’s land rental agreement with Endurance secures their financial security
- Site to receive second E3120 turbine after successfully hosting the first E3120 turbine
- “By working with industry experts the whole planning process was taken care of with very little involvement from ourselves and the turbine was installed with minimal fuss. It is generating more power than we thought it would which is an extra benefit to us because we get paid a bonus of any electricity generated over and above 150,000kWh per year.” – Arwyn Ellis on his land rental agreement with Endurance
For Arwyn and Cerian Ellis, hosting a 50kW wind turbine on their farm has given them the ideal opportunity to diversify their upland livestock business. With one turbine successfully installed and generating a guaranteed rental income, a second turbine will soon be erected, giving the farm and the family’s next generation greater financial security.
Arwyn and Cerian Ellis farm 270 acres of upland grazing and hill ground at Ty Isa near Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr in Conwy County. They are the family’s fourth generation to farm the land and currently run 45 beef suckler cows and 850 breeding ewes.
With the farm’s income under constant threat from volatile beef and lamb prices, and the future of their young family to think about (the couple have three children aged 6, 5 and 2), Arwyn and Cerian are constantly looking for new ways to expand, improve and diversify the farm in order to safeguard the long-term viability of their business.
It was for that reason that they recently bought a neighbouring smallholding consisting of 27 acres of land, farmhouse and agricultural outbuildings. “The property next door was too valuable an asset for us not to buy,” Arwyn explains. “We were already renting some of the land anyway so it made sense for us strategically to buy it, especially as land around here doesn’t come up for sale very often”.
“We are using the buildings for our own farming purposes but have let the house to earn a rental income. Eventually the house will be available for the children if they decide to stay in the area and join the farm business, but for now it is paying for itself and has been a good investment.”
In addition to the rental income from the recently acquired farmhouse, the Ellis’ have also diversified their business by entering into a land rental partnership for a medium-sized wind turbine to be located on their land.
“With meat prices constantly fluctuating and farm support payments set to diminish, we’ve made a conscious decision to ensure we haven’t got all our eggs in one basket,” Cerian explains.
“Conwy already has a high density of wind turbines with as many as 30 visible from our own property. We did some research and realised that our land was perfect for installing our own turbine from which we’d be able to earn an additional income.” “Our land extends to 1400 feet above sea level and as such is very exposed with an average wind speed of almost 7.0 metres per second,” Arwyn adds. “We’re also fortunate that a threephase power line runs over our land which makes it easy export any surplus power back into the local electricity network where it can be used by other neighbouring properties.”
The Ellis’ original plan was to purchase and install their own turbine, but that was before the property next door came onto the market. “Unfortunately we couldn’t afford to invest in both projects so it looked like our turbine plans would have to be shelved,” Arwyn continues.
With their ambitions to purchase their own turbine no longer viable, but still keen to find a way of earning an income from renewable energy, Arwyn and Cerian explored alternative options. They subsequently opted to work in partnership with Endurance Wind Power. The company has now installed a 50kW E3120 turbine on the Ellis’ land and pays them an annual land rental.
“In hindsight it has been the perfect solution for us,” Arwyn adds. “Putting a wind turbine on agricultural land is a specialist task and we didn’t want to expose ourselves to the costs and risk of planning uncertainties.”
“We therefore worked with renewable energy development experts, Wilson Fearnall, who handled the entire planning process on our behalf. That enabled us to concentrate on our core farming operations without being distracted by the complications of the planning process.”
With planning consent successfully granted, the first E3120 turbine was installed on the Ellis’ land in May 2014. The terms of their partnership with Endurance Wind Power guarantee a regular, index-linked income over 20 years, after which the agreement can either be renewed or the turbine removed and its footprint returned to full agricultural production.
“Everything has worked out perfectly for us,” Arwyn explains. “By working with industry experts the whole planning process was taken care of with very little involvement from ourselves and the turbine was installed with minimal fuss. It is generating more power than we thought it would which is an extra benefit to us because we get paid a bonus for any electricity generated over and above 150,000 kilowatts per year.”
The Ellis’ have been so pleased with the first turbine that they have just gained planning permission for a second machine. “Livestock farming is an inherently risky business with disease threats, adverse weather and global markets all threatening the farm’s bottom line,” Arwyn explains.
“The first turbine has been such as success that we commissioned Wilson Fearnall to seek planning permission for a second machine from Endurance. Once installed, it will double the income we earn from wind power whilst only taking a small footprint of land out of agricultural production.”
“We’ve successfully diversified the farm without any financial or time input from ourselves and our land is contributing to the generation of clean, reliable energy. The business is earning a regular income from wind power, making the farm more secure and hopefully giving our children the option to join the family business sometime in the future.”
A wind turbine rental agreement has enabled Arwyn and Cerian Ellis to earn an additional income by hosting an Endurance E3120 turbine on their land. Now that’s green energy in action.