01 Jan 1970
Why farmers hold the key to the energy transition
Climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy is the biggest challenge of our time. Soaring energy prices and concerns over energy security have highlighted the need to increase production and manage the intermittent nature of renewable energy generation. This is where the UK’s agricultural sector comes in. Renewable energy offers fantastic opportunities for farm diversification. Anaerobic digestion delivers income for electricity sales or gas to grid applications, whilst wind turbines and solar PV installations offer less labour-intensive routes into renewable energy production. A clear opportunity is emerging for farmers and landowners to host local energy facilities, a move which offers the potential to not only diversify but also to decarbonise, something that is being increasingly requested by food buyers. Solar installations, both ground-mounted and roof top, offer farmers and landowners the opportunity to develop a scheme themselves or benefit from rental income and on-site energy cost savings for installations developed by a third party, such as Conrad Energy. The land required might be less than you think. A 5MW ground mounted solar scheme requires 5 Ha (or 12.5a) of land and provides electricity for around 1,400 households each year. A 500m2 roof, such as a barn or dairy unit, could support a 100kW solar installation, delivering 100MWh of carbon free electricity a year. A 10MW battery storage installation needs less than an acre of land. Conrad Energy is an integrated energy company and develops renewable generation schemes, flexible generation facilities and energy storage systems. As well as providing a route to market for existing schemes through Power Purchase Agreements, they also design, develop and fund new build energy generation and storage facilities, giving long term rental income, energy cost savings and carbon reductions to farmers and landowners.