by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

Dairy company Dale Farm has been commended for its commitment to the use of renewable energy sources, topping two categories at the 2018 Sustainable Ireland awards.   The company was awarded ‘Best Use of Renewable Energy Sources’ in recognition of its Dunmanbridge production plant, which is now powered by one of the largest private solar farms in global dairy.


In addition, Dale Farm Group Projects Engineer Gary McNeill was named ‘Energy Manager of the Year.’

 

Dale Farm’s Dunmanbridge facility in Cookstown manufactures dairy products for the retail and foodservice markets. The site has introduced a number of renewable energy and sustainable initiatives and this year launched a ground-breaking 5Mw, 25-acre Solar farm.

 

All the power generated is used on Dale Farm’s Dunmanbridge site, rather than being exported to the grid. Consisting of 15,000 individual solar panels, Dale Farm’s solar farm is the largest of its kind in use in the European food and dairy sector today.

 

Gary McNeill was crowned ‘Energy Manager of the Year’ for his commitment to converting the company’s current operations to sustainable, renewable sources. Speaking about the award wins, Gary said:

 

“It is an honour to have lifted two awards for Dale Farm’s work in the area of sustainability – these are valued recognition of our efforts towards creating a more responsible future for our business.

“We seek to take the lead in sustainability and constantly assess our processes and facilities to see how we can enhance efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint,” said Gary.

 

Dale Farm’s sustainability strategy will see a number of core initiatives come into play within the next year:

“Our Dunmanbridge site is scheduled to convert to natural gas during 2019, a move which is anticipated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4,500 tonnes. All Dale Farm’s other manufacturing sites around the UK have already converted to natural gas,” Gary McNeill continues.

“We are also focused on rationalising our farm and secondary haulage transport, with the objective of reducing weekly mileage by 9,000 miles and an annual reduction of 800 tonnes of carbon dioxide,” Gary explained.

 

Speaking on behalf of Sustainable Ireland, General Manager Golda Burrows added:

 

“The quality of the entries in both these categories this year was of a very high level, but the judging panel had no hesitation in presenting the awards to Dale Farm and its energy manager Gary McNeill; very deserving winners, indeed.”

 

The Sustainable Ireland Awards ceremony, held at Belfast’s Crowne Plaza Hotel, brought together hundreds of guests, including leading figures from the waste management, energy and environmental sectors across Ireland.

 

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Pictured (L-R) TV and radio sports presenter Adrian Logan, Geoff Bates Group Environmental and Compliance Manager at Dale Farm, Group Capital Projects Manager at Dale Farm Rodney Stewart and John Nesbitt Managing Director of Atlas World.

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