Survey: One third of British farmers to generate green energy
Nearly a third of Britain’s farmers will be utilising some form of renewable energy generation by the autumn, according to a major new report that confirms the agricultural sector is driving demand for solar panels, small scale wind turbines, and renewable heat technologies.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) and Natwest recently released the results of a survey of more than 400 farmers designed to assess the level of uptake of renewable energy technologies by the industry.
It found around 20 per cent farmers intend to be producing clean electricity by the end of the summer. Solar installations proved the most popular option with one in six respondents claiming they will have solar systems in place within the next few months.
Renewable heat technologies, such as biomass boilers or anaerobic digestion plants, are also expected to be in place at around 10 per cent of farms by the end of the summer.
NFU chief renewable energy adviser Jonathan Scurlock said the results showed that renewable energy could soon overtake tourism as a key source of extra income for rural communities.
He also argued the findings buoyed predictions that 15 per cent of renewable energy could come from the agriculture sector by 2020, enabling it to make a significant contribution to the UK target of producing 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
“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,” he said.
“The potential of land-based renewable energy to support profitable farming, while contributing to energy security and the low-carbon economy, is evidently much greater than we ever imagined.”
However, more than half of those surveyed cited planning permission as the biggest barrier to installing renewable energy projects, while a third said access to finance was a challenge. Another quarter said their efforts were hampered by the lack of public information on installing green energy systems.
Author: BusinessGreen Staff