Director gains sustainable title
MOLE Valley Farmers' director Steve Edmunds has been named South West Sustainable Energy Champion.
The title recognises his lead in offering farmers fresh income ideas from solar, wind and other renewables while considering the community and rural economy.
He was picked from more than 100 candidates by Regen South West, a not for profit organisation funded by local and national government and by member subscriptions.
The judges included the founder of the Eden Project, Tim Smit and Lord Robin Teverson, Liberal Democrat energy and climate change spokesperson. They said he had shown leadership and commitment in securing renewable energy for the region during 2012.
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Mr Edmunds said: "I was genuinely surprised to win. To receive this accolade is wonderful, particularly from such high profile judges, and only inspires me to continue to work hard with the Mole energy team to develop renewable energy options for farming and rural communities."
Since 2007, he has been working with Mole Valley Farmers to develop a strategy for renewable technology.
He has researched the options and the benefits for the rural economy and the judges were particularly impressed by his demonstrations at Ashcott, near Glastonbury.
The facility, funded by Mole Valley Farmers, has been visited by 2,500 farmers in the past two years and provides regional yield data and unbiased advice.
The judges also felt he had shown ingenuity in supporting farming and the rural landscape by securing another substantial income for farmers across the region.
"Farmers and landowners in the South West have a huge opportunity to produce renewable energy for the whole community," said Mr Edmunds.
"We wanted to remove the barriers to the uptake of renewable energy generation for farmers and realised that by developing a business model for renewables we could bring the Mole Valley brand and purchasing power to the sector."
More than 130 companies entered the award scheme.