30% of Farmers Invest in Renewables

New research by the NFU and NatWest has revealed that 30% of farmers across England and Wales will be involved in some form of renewable energy production, use or supply by the end of the summer.

Around one in five will be producing clean electricity, one in six will have installed solar PV and a further one in eight will be using or generating renewable energy. The findings suggest agriculture will make a significant contribution to the UK target of producing 15% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020, as set by the EU Renewable Energy Directive.

More than 400 farmers were surveyed in a first-of-its-kind partnership between the two organisations.

Other data showed:
•    Over half of those surveyed felt that gaining planning permission was the biggest barrier to renewable energy projects, with one in three seeing access to finance as a possible issue and one in four finding access to the right information problematic.
•    Of those with no solar or wind projects, 34% believed access to finance was a barrier.

Ian Burrow, head of agriculture and renewable energy at NatWest said: “This report shows farmers are taking notice of the developments in renewable energy and see a tangible benefit. We’ve already taken steps to help those businesses that see access to finance as a barrier.

NFU chief renewable energy adviser Jonathan Scurlock said: “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.”

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