Earthmill expands with new turbine management division

The UK's largest agricultural wind-turbine business, Wetherby-based Earthmill, has expanded with the launch of a new division dedicated to servicing and maintaining wind turbines.

Wednesday, 30th March 2016, 1:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th March 2016, 2:36 pm
Earthmill turbine maintenance engineers at work. (S)

The £15m turnover business, which has installed more than 250 ‘farm-scale’ turbines since it was launched out of managing director Steve Milner’s garage in 2009, has invested in new staff and technology in response to the high demand for assistance from turbine-owners whose initial service warranties have expired.

Earthmill has won more than 20 new service and maintenance contracts in the last few months and expects to have gained at least a further 50 by the end of this year.

With a 14-strong team of engineers deployed nationally, and further hires expected later this year, Earthmill has also invested in a new on-site high-tech control centre at its Wetherby head office. The technology provides a detailed, real-time report of local wind speeds and power outputs of each turbine as well as pre-empting and instantly logging any technical problems.

Faults can be fixed either remotely from the Wetherby control centre or by deploying the company’s nearest engineer to the turbine.

Managing director Steve Milner said: “When something goes wrong with a turbine, speed and technical expertise are essential to avoid costly downtime for turbine-owners, who need their machine to be producing power at every opportunity.

“This investment in technology allows us to gather the levels of data necessary to ensure our clients are constantly getting the maximum out of their wind-turbine investments.”

He added: “We’ve put together a turbine management package for clients, specifically designed to take that stress away from farmers, who have more than enough to worry about already.

“There are a lot of basic maintenance deals on the market now but we take a holistic and more proactive approach to looking after each turbine site. While the industry average availability, or uptime, rate is 95 per cent, the rate for the turbines that Earthmill services and maintains is 98 per cent, thanks to our highly experienced team.

“Typically that extra 3 per cent means an additional £2,000 a year in revenue for hard-pressed farmers who need to maximise their farm income.”