Wind turbines surpass 100 million kWh milestone

As a business, we have always believed in the potential of wind power. Our late Chairman, Maitland Mackie, even installed a small wind turbine to power the old piggery back in 1983, making Mackie’s one of the first UK companies to install a grid connected wind turbine. Although neither the piggery nor the original turbine are still on the farm, we have since put up four much larger turbines along the top of the hill overlooking the farm and the dairy.

We installed the first of our four current turbines in 2005. Last month, we watched as the meter which counts the electricity produced by the first three turbines reset to zero upon reaching the 100 million kWh mark. This means that we have produced enough energy to supply 2,500 family homes with electricity for 10 years, or drive an electric car around the world more than 14,000 times.

While it is more often windy than sunny up in Aberdeenshire, we do get our good days too! Because it tends to be less windy when the sun shines, the turbines produce less energy. This was part of the thinking behind our installation of solar panels on the roof of the byre to run the milking machines and a near-7000 panel strong solar farm beside the wind turbines at the top of the hill. Now, when the wind dies down and the sun peeks out the solar panels help account for the reduction in energy we produce. We now have a total capacity of around 5MW.

We see these as steps along the way in our mission of becoming completely self-sufficient in renewable energy. While we produce over four times more energy than we use in producing our ice cream, we still need to purchase energy from the grid on occasions where, for example, there is not enough wind on a given day to match the energy required in the dairy. One of the next steps in achieving our goal of self-sufficiency is the current installation of a £4.5 million low carbon refrigeration system which will cut the farm’s energy use by up to 80%. As we are already at around 60% renewable energy self-sufficiency, this will take us much closer to our goal of 100% by eating up the overall amount of energy required. Another factor which will be important and which we are hopeful about is the improvement of technologies allowing for the storage of energy produced but not needed at that exact moment.

For more information on our low carbon refrigeration system, see here.