High electricity costs were overcome at Hamerton Zoo Park, near Sawtry in Cambridgeshire when it became the most environmentally-friendly zoo in Europe. With the help of Opus Energy, the business energy supplier, the zoo now sells its excess energy.
The zoo initially installed a couple of small wind turbines. However, after 18 months of seeing the benefits they brought, the zoo decided to install two larger turbines on the same site in November 2012. The wind turbines, combined together with the solar and a biomass boiler to heat water from waste, make it the most environmentally-friendly zoo in Europe.
The two new large turbines are projected to provide all of the electricity the park needs to operate, plus generate a surplus it can sell back to Opus Energy.
Hamerton Zoo Park was established in 1990 on a family farm. In addition to housing a huge variety of animals from big cats through to alpacas, the site also hosts a range of other leisure facilities and attractions including a coffee shop, play areas and a gift shop. As a result of its many operations, including visitor facilities and animal accommodation, the zoo uses a lot of power.
Andrew Swales, Director of Hamerton Zoo Park, comments on its sustainability focus and the opportunity to drive additional revenue for the site: “We are focused on providing a sustainable environment for our staff, visitors and animals, so we’re always looking to improve our energy efficiency. We’re proud to be the most environmentally-friendly zoo in Europe and needed to work with a supplier to help us meet our latest renewable energy needs to ensure this status was maintained.
“We heard about Opus Energy through a recommendation from an installer and manufacturer. We had experienced poor customer service from our previous supplier so were looking for someone with a wealth of experience in the sector who was able to provide good, reliable support – and we’ve not been disappointed!”
Renewable generators such as Hamerton Zoo Park are able to sell their excess power to an energy supplier by setting up a power purchase agreement (PPA). Once renewable generators have signed their PPA with Opus Energy, the dedicated Renewables team works to make the process as smooth as possible. The team then liaises with the generator on a monthly basis to send their energy payments. Should the generator have any questions, they are able to contact the Renewables team who are on-hand to help resolve any queries.
Andrew Swales continues: “We looked into a few alternative suppliers to help support our renewable energy needs, but Opus Energy was the most flexible and able to meet our needs. While working with Opus Energy, we have benefitted from competitive prices, high quality documentation and a very efficient service. The support of the Renewables team has been invaluable to the project.”
Andy Dayus, Head of Renewable Operations at Opus Energy, concludes: “Hamerton Zoo Park was a particularly exciting project for our Renewables team, being the first zoo we’d worked with. The team has a very good understanding of the challenges generators face and works to ensure the process is as simple and efficient as possible. We strive to provide a tailored service to meet our customers’ needs and thereby provide them with the best solution, which not only helps them power their sites in a sustainable manner, but can also help them to add value to their bottom line.”