Diary Farm Klei Reuvers (NL)

When the sun isn't shining, it often blows. "Of course this does not always apply, but it is absolutely clear that with a combination of the generation of wind energy and solar energy you have a much more regular supply of electricity than with solar panels alone." Engbert Klei says. Together with his wife and sons, he has a dairy farm in Dalfsen. The entrepreneurs milk 120 cows. They do this with the help of two milking robots.

Since October 2019, the dairy farm has been self-sufficient in terms of electricity. The entrepreneurs realized this by installing two wind turbines and solar panels on part of the roof of the tool shed. Why did they do that?

"For a number of years we have been thinking about generating our own electricity to make our company more sustainable. Not only because we think this is important, but also because sustainability is an important social topic. We want to respond to that. Our dairy factory also aims for this and rewards the self-generation of energy with extra points in its sustainability program, so that we receive a plus on the milk price.

The less heavy fuse protection on the electricity grid makes a significant difference in standing charges

Production pattern
Dairy farm Klei has been focusing on windmills for a number of years. The entrepreneurs spoke with various advisers and experts and became convinced that a combination of solar and wind energy would suit their company best.

"The easiest and cheapest would be to fill in the entire energy problem with solar panels. But the sun only shines during the day. We need electricity 24 hours a day at our farm with milking robots. Because wind and sun provide energy at different times, you can achieve a flatter electricity production pattern by combining the two, "says Engbert Klei.

"An additional advantage over solar panels alone is that less heavy fuse protection on the electricity grid is sufficient. That makes a big difference in standing charges. "

Electricity consumption within Klei's company is approximately 75,000 kWh per year. The entrepreneurs can now generate approximately this amount themselves. The two windmills behind the shed together generate about 45,000 to 50,000 kWh per year. And the 100 solar panels provide 30,000 kWh.

Together with the neighbor
The entrepreneurs turned to several suppliers of solar panels and wind turbines. Eventually they teamed up with BestWatt in Barneveld. "This company was able to offer what we were looking for at a good price." The agreement could be concluded for a slightly more competitive price because the neighbor was also interested. "In a deal, we were able to make agreements with BestWatt together with the neighbor. As a result, the company was able to install solar panels and two windmills both at our premises and at our neighbor, "says dairy farmer Klei.

The Klei partnership in Dalfsen called in BestWatt to realize a combination of solar and wind energy. Photo: BestWatt
The Klei partnership in Dalfsen called in BestWatt to realize a combination of solar and wind energy. Photo: BestWatt © Kennispartner
"The entrepreneur's power consumption is the starting point for our proposal," says Jan Beens of BestWatt. "The consumption looks very different for a farmer, for example, than for Clay, which has a fairly cash power consumption due to the milking robots."

Permit process
BestWatt also took care of the permit process. This was still a bit difficult because it turned out that it would be the first small windmills in the municipality of Dalfsen. And nothing had been arranged for that in the zoning plan. Nevertheless, the municipality cooperated quickly.

The supplier advised on the best location for the windmills with a shaft height of 15 meters. "That was done on the basis of wind models and the local situation. To the southwest, the mills need an open space. The mills are behind the stable. It is a different place than what we first thought of. But we are happy with it. The mills are not close to our house, so we are not bothered by cast shadow or noise. "

Since the windmills are in the yard, the entrepreneurs have not had to worry about it. Maintenance for the first ten years is part of the concluded agreement. Not that the windmills are often tinkered with. BestWatt can monitor the mill remotely, and malfunctions can also often be resolved from Barneveld.

The starting point of dairy farmer Klei is to have the windmills and solar panels recouped within ten years. SDE subsidy for the wind turbines and the EIA energy investment deduction for the solar panels are part of the earnings model. And that also applies to a subsidy through the Young Farmers Scheme that Engbert's son could apply for.