Farm Power Coalition seeks to aid UK's transformation to a low-carbon energy system within the next 5 years

The UK’s Farm Power coalition, comprised of 27 members representing farming bodies, businesses and NGOs, wants to enlist governments and stake-holders such as supermarkets to help UK farms become major players in a transforming the country to a low-carbon energy system within the next five years, according to Hugh Bowring, a spokesman for the Farm Power coalition.

There is at least 10GW of untapped resource across UK farms, according to recent research, which is equivalent to more than three times the installed capacity of the proposed new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C. “The focus of the report is on predominantly ground- and roof-based solar and wind power, with some anaerobic digestion thrown into the mix,” said Bowring. “However, other forms of energy generation through biomass and small-scale hydro, for example, could all play a part.”

The figures are extrapolated from data on real farms as well as the results from a June 2013 survey in Farmers Weekly, in partnership with Forum for the Future and Nottingham Trent University, which involved 700 respondents. Using the original data, researchers built simple scenarios using some realistic assumptions about how the number of projects farms in the UK could host and estimated the amount of land that could reasonably be used for installing solar panels, wind turbines and anaerobic digestion systems. The estimated amount of land that could reasonably be used for energy (or, more accurately, a combination of energy and other uses) was 200,000ha.

Some changes in the power distribution system and cooperation from supermarkets could help UK farms and rural communities become major contributors to the energy system, UK Farm Power maintains. These include “Creating reliable access to grid connections and supportive planning, which 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,” and getting supermarkets to agree to buy locally-grown energy, sending a vote of confidence to shoppers, the energy industry and policymakers.

agriculture  energy briefing  energy system  farmers  low-carbon 

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