Flemish tree nursery Vandamme Plants invested in their own wind turbine, which will supply 30,000 kWh per year. Two months after they started using it, the young entrepreneurs are finetuning the company’s energy usage. All electric vehicles are plugged into the chargers when the wind starts blowing. “You could compare it to a private household, where people start the washing machine when the lower (night) rate kicks in.”
The many empty spaces in the container fields at Vandamme Plants in Jabbeke (Belgium) are symbolic for the successful year that they, as well as others in the sector, have behind them. A large part of their assortment was sold last autumn, so there’s little stock left now. The empty spots on the weed control fabric are covered with pallets, a common sight for growers in the area.
“That’s to prevent wind damage”, explains Dries Verstraete (36), who runs the family business together with his wife Joke Vandamme (34). The company, consisting of 11 ha of container fields and 1.5 ha of greenhouse, specialises in potted ornamental shrubs. Their assortment includes around 350 different cultivars. “Wind is a familiar problem for growers in this region. We’re close to the coast and it’s often windy. We need to go out and straighten our plants on a regular basis.” (..)
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