FINALIST FOR DIVERSIFICATION INNOVATOR
OF THE YEAR – LARGE
Sponsored by: Firma Foreign Exchange
Paul and Emma Ratcliffe
PBESCO & PBE Fuels, Newhouse Farm, Pembrokeshire
When first propositioned about energy crops, Paul and Emma Ratcliffe had already been re-evaluating their future of beef and sheep production.
The diversification stemmed from the family’s neighbour and main developer Bluestone, where the first installation of 1.8Mw on an ESCO was planted.
Paul took it upon himself to research renewables, from energy crops and boilers to pellets and wood chip supply – something which soon turned into fact-finding trips to Austria and Finland, and importing from Ireland Copenhagen.
Fast forward a year and the farm was planting 65-acres of Miscanthus for the basis of a local co-operative group.
The duo is now keen to offer more UK-based pellets, including plans to source and sell Welsh pellets, while their teenage children build up farm’s remaining beef and sheep enterprise.
Emma says: “Our children are now teenagers and our son has a keen interest in the farm, assisting with the sheep on his John Deere gator, recently purchased with money he made from rearing and selling calves – we seem to be going back into beef farming.
“Our two daughters assist with bagged pellet deliveries and customer collections from the farm.”
The project has not just had a positive impact on the farm – where it all started – but is also on the brink of helping surrounding farms provide energy for the local community.
The website has played a key role in the business’ success, with the team becoming more active on social media and hosting open-days, supporting local events and YFC groups.