What if every farm in the UK was generating renewable energy? What if instead of The Big 6, farms played a more important role in the national energy mix by offering independent rural power generation? Well, why not?
Farm Power, an organisation founded by Forum for the Future, Farmers Weekly and Nottingham Trent University, is looking at exactly this. A significant percentage of farmers have already invested in renewable energy, yet the source remains largely untapped. The benefits include reduced farm business costs and the wider community benefit from cleaner, greener energy.
Rural landowners are increasingly looking to diversify their income and land rental is one way in which they can earn money. Fine Energy offer a guaranteed annual rental deal for 20 years in exchange for leasing a small portion of land on which to install a wind turbine.
This process isn’t without its challenges. Investment in the grid is needed and government policy has been inconsistent. In the case of wind turbines there exist constraints including radar, telecommunication links, heritage assets and ecology which can rule out development in the very early stages. Even once planning permission is granted, projects can be called in and then refused.
Endurance Wind Power is a manufacturer of wind turbines who actively support the Farm Power project. Their range of small and medium scale machines are installed throughout the UK and the E and X Series turbines have been designed specifically for distributed wind power applications such as farms and dairies.
Lord Curry has championed the initiative, saying “it’s in all our interests to get behind this and champion the benefits, and opportunity, that renewable energy technologies can bring to society and farming”.