More support for farmers urged in renewable energy push
Farms could be a major player in the renewable energy market in the UK, according to a report issued by a new industry coalition, Farm Power.
According to its research, there is at least 10GW of untapped resource across UK farms – equivalent to more than three times the installed capacity of the proposed new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C.
The coalition is made up of farming bodies, such as the National Farmers Union, businesses and NGOs and led by sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future.
To enable farms to become significant contributors to the energy system, a number of obstacles need to be tackled, says the coalition and it needs the support of policymakers and other key stakeholders, such as supermarkets, to support its vision.
Obstacles highlighted by the coalition include getting reliable access to grid connections and supportive planning. Removing these barriers will require a system-wide approach and the support of key decision makers from central Government to Ofgem and the UK’s six distribution network operators.
Supermarkets also need to build on the work they are already doing with farmers by committing to buying home-grown energy, and in doing so, sending out a strong message of their backing for farm-based energy generation to policymakers, their customers and suppliers, and the energy industry.
Dr Jonathan Scurlock, Chief Adviser, Renewable Energy and Climate Change, National Farmers' Union, said: “The NFU strongly endorses farm diversification into renewable energy, for export as well as for self-supply, where it supports profitable farming and underpins traditional agricultural production. We recognise that low-carbon energy production can actually enhance our national food security for only a modest land take, and the additional returns from renewables make farm businesses more resilient and better able to manage volatility in both the weather and in farm prices”.
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