Renewable energy ‘natural fit’ with farming

Renewable energy has a natural fit with managing land for agricultural production, according to Dr Jonathan Scurlock, National Farmers Union (NFU) chief advisor on renewable energy.

Speaking to BBC Farming Today, Dr Scurlock noted that there has been increased interest from farmers in utilising their land for renewable energy, particularly with solar photovoltaics (PV).

“In the rows between the solar modules there will certainly be a need to keep the grass down, so sheep grazing is an obvious opportunity,” he explained. “We have had members expressing a considerable interest in perhaps combining solar farms with free range poultry.

“One further opportunity is the possibility of solar farms actually being used for bio-diversity benefit, especially for the under-planting of pollen and nectar mixtures or bird forage mixtures.”

Farmers could find that they will not see such high returns from the feed-in tariff, however. The government’s review into the incentive scheme proposes reducing the payments for large-scale renewables of more than 50kW.

However, the review also proposed an increase in the tariff for farm-scale anaerobic digestion.

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