Farms Becoming Major Source of Renewable Energy in UK

Some 30% of farms in England and Wales have wind, solar or bioenergy, which is becoming their largest source of secondary income, according to a survey by the UK Farm Energy Service (NFU) and NatWest Bank.

"The NFU has been encouraging farmers and growers nationwide across all sectors to diversify into renewable energy for the past few years – but we are amazed at this level of uptake already," says Jonathan Scurlock, NFU chief renewable energy adviser.

Thus far, agriculture hosts 200 megawatts of power, enough to supply 40,000 households. If the trend continues, 15% of the UK’s electricity could be generated by farms by the end of the decade, which would meet the country’s target in the EU Renewable Energy Directive.

Over half of those surveyed say getting permits is the biggest barrier to renewable energy projects, followed by access to finance and information on systems.

Wheat and pea farmer Caroline Knox, says banks don’t really understand the benefits and regular income provided by the government’s feed-in tariff, reports The Guardian.

"We’ve already taken steps to help those businesses that see access to finance as a barrier," says Ian Burrow, head of agriculture and renewable energy at NatWest.

Another impediment is the uncertainty about feed-in tariffs in the UK. Earlier this year, government was about to pull the rug out from under the tariffs, but that was stopped by a court order and industry uproar.

A dairy farmer says the uncertainly of the changing subsidy rules gives him cold feet, keeping him away from solar. And he’s afraid of public push-back if he puts up wind turbines, says The Guardian. Instead he turned to biogas, where he’s been making over £1,000 a day for four years sending electricity to the grid generated from cattle manure and other waste products.

About 20% of farmers are using solar, 6% wind and the rest are using biogas.

Farms are also a new market for renewable energy systems in the US:

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Comments on “Farms Becoming Major Source of Renewable Energy in UK”

  1. Colin Megson

    Wind energy is about 5% of the 19% electricity content of UK energy use – that is, less than 1% of the total – and all of this environmental and scenic degradation for such a piddling contribution.

    Strange that the immense contribution breeder reactors can make to supplying almost all of our energy requirements, equitably, to every individual on the planet, for all of time, is not as widely fought over as inconsequential wind power.

    Whilst generating electricity, high temperature breeder reactors can supply process heat as well as electricity to industry, for most of their operations. They can create a hydrogen economy to facilitate production of carbon -neutral liquid fuels for all transport, from atmospheric CO2. They can produce carbon-neutral ammonia as feedstock for fertilisers, from atmosperic nitrogen. They can economically supply hydrogen as a reducing agent for steel making. Their ‘waste’ heat can desalinate brackish groundwater and sea water, to produce vast quantities of potable water. In electricity generation, Small Modular Reactor versions can be used for load-following – the job done mainly by CCGTs now.

    In other words, they represent the prospect of worldwide peace and prosperity as the clash of decreasing hydrocarbons and increasing population/energy demands looms on the horizon.

    Google LFTRs to see if you can get behind the one and only answer.


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