One of the UK’s oldest companies, and creator of the Mornflake oat cereals, has combined its three-and-a-half centuries of milling expertise with the latest technology to create the world’s first modern-day windmill near Boyndie.
Welcomed by Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the windmill is now fully operational.
The independent, family-owned company – which owns the Hamlyns of Scotland brand - has returned to the traditional practice of harnessing wind to power its milling machines at its facility by investing £3.5m in a 2.3MW wind turbine.
The new turbine provides more than enough energy to power the mill, with any excess being fed into the national grid.
Milling since William Lea founded the company in 1675 and now fifteen generations later, the family is committed to its environmentally sustainable aims and the wind turbine is the first of many long-term initiatives to becoming a carbon neutral business.
Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the new facility will save 4,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each and every year.
Commenting on the new facility, John Lea, managing director, said: “When my great-great-grandfather introduced steam power into his milling operations, he must have thought the days of the windmill were well and truly numbered.
“By harnessing the latest technology and our ancient milling expertise, we’ve come full circle and are once again seeing cereal bowls across the UK and beyond filled with oats from a Mornflake windmill.
“Anybody who has been to the north of Scotland can see that it has fantastic conditions for driving wind turbines, but may not know its fields grow the best quality oats in the world. It’s the perfect combination,” he added.
The new turbine was erected on the site following an extensive consultation process with the local community and five years of planning. Receving no objections to the proposal, the German-built turbine was erected in late November, 2011, for testing.
The announcement, made last week, was welcomed by Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, who said:
“The new windmill is a big boost to a sustainable food industry.
By following this lead, other companies can take advantage of the Government support for renewable technologies which will not only lead to a reduced carbon footprint, but also help safeguard jobs and profitability.”