Farmers embrace renewables, conference hears

Renewable energy uptake on farms shows no sign of slowing down as farmers continue to support clean energy production.

Opening the Energy Now Expo, NFU President Meurig Raymond said that agricultural and rural businesses interest in renewable energy diversification has grown steadily over the past three years. 

According to the NFU’s Farmer Confidence Survey, the popularity of renewables has risen from 30% in 2015 to 35% in 2016, despite a predicted slowdown after changes to Government policy. 

energy expoRaymond said: “We have seen an explosion in land-based clean energy production which continues to spread out into new technologies like battery storage, helping our members to manage farm costs.

“In these uncertain times, I am pleased to report that agricultural and rural businesses are indeed making a substantial contribution to the growth of the renewables sector.

“Over one-quarter of all farmers now have solar PV electricity but I am delighted to see the great variety of applications of renewable energy integrated into the rural economy, enabling farmers, growers and other businesses to manage their energy costs and enhance their productivity.

“An expected slowing in renewable energy uptake due to post-2015 changes in Government policy has not yet happened, which suggests that technological advances and falling costs are becoming more important than clean energy incentives as drivers of economic decision-making for the whole range of ‘agri-renewables’.”

The NFU continues to deliver energy advice to our farmer and grower members through the NFU Farm Energy Service and would encourage agricultural businesses to explore the potential cost saving and new income streams that renewable energy can bring to all farms.

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