Dutch energy-trading model recommended for growers

The loss of financial support for combined heat and power (CHP) systems for glasshouses means that growers should look at energy trading on the Dutch model to make it more viable, the Tomato Growers Association heard last month.

Farm Energy director Chris Plackett said: "There are two or three things eroding the viability of CHP, including the levy exemption certificate that will go next April. We need smarter operating and trading regimes."

One such platform, operated by Jules Energy, has already begun operating in the UK as well as in Belgium and the Netherlands.

"In Holland, 80 per cent of growers have CHP, but in the UK it's more like 10 per cent," said co-founder Rob van Leeuwen. "With our web-based platform, the grower decides what his energy need is and what he can sell."

Clarke Energy sales engineer Adam Wray-Summerson added: "Given how glasshouses operate, energy trading is a nice fit, and in general energy companies are receptive to it.

"In horticulture, CHP is being driven by the cost of energy and the ability to get both heat and CO2 from it. The perception is it's expensive, but it isn't necessarily."


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