Energy co-op plans to use farm waste

A Cumbrian energy co-operative has announced plans to make energy from farm muck and help boost the region’s farming economy.

Community Renewable Energy North West (CoRE NW), a co-operative based in Workington, plans to set up a number of farmers’ co-operatives, each of which will produce electricity and heat from manure and silage using anaerobic digestion.

The first of these farmers’ co-ops, which will be at Middle Farm in Silloth, is expected to get planning permission next spring, with a view to commissioning a ‘digester’ by the end of 2010.

As well as providing income to farmers, the co-operatives will rid farmers of the problem of slurry, which is both smelly and toxic when applied to soils. Instead, farmers will get back liquid fertiliser from the digester, which will replace almost all their need for chemicals.

“Our first plant will generate enough electricity for more than 2,000 houses and can almost double the profitability of dairy farmers,” explains Rob Skinner a local agriculturalist from CoRE NW. The digester will also produce heat which can heat animal housing and other buildings near the farm.

CoRE NW will also work with interested communities to set up and own any renewable energy systems, including wood heating, solar panels and water turbines. The initial work on Middle Farm has been funded by The Hub.

CoRE, The Hub and Co-operative and Mutual Solutions are all members of Co-operatives UK.

For more information about CoRE visit

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