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Farmers Support Renewable Energy Projects

A joint survey by the National Farmers Union (NFU) and National Westminster Bank PLC (NWB) reveals that almost one third of farmers in the UK will be using renewable energy generation of some kind by this autumn with one sixth of farmers having solar panels installed by then.

The report reveals that the agriculture industry is driving forward demand for renewable heat technology, small-scale wind turbines and solar panels.

NWB and the NFU recently released the results following a survey of over 400 farmers to find out how many had taken up the cause of renewable energy.

The survey discovered that about 20 per cent of farmers have every intention, by the summer’s end, to produce clean electricity. The installation of solar panels was the most popular form of renewable energy generation with one in six saying that they will have installed solar panels within a few months.

In addition, anaerobic digestion plants or biomass boilers that are renewable heat technologies are forecast to be put in place in about ten per cent of farms by the summer’s end.

Jonathan Scurlock, who is the chief renewable energy adviser for the NFU made the observation that renewable energy may soon be generating more income than tourism for the rural community.

He commented:” 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.”

“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.”

Interestingly, over 50 per cent of farmers surveyed believed planning permission to be the greatest barrier to taking forward any renewable energy project. Twenty five per cent felt that the lack of information in the public domain held back their attempts to install such energy systems. In addition one third felt that being able to obtain finance was a problem.

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