Know How / Farm energy

Get advice on diversifying into the farm energy sector or using farm-generated renewable energy to cut energy costs. Find out how to maximise anaerobic digestion (AD) plant performance, lease land for battery and generator sites, and grow crops for the biofuels market.

Advice and tips


How to avoid hidden farm energy costs in PPAs

Farmers should carefully check the small print of power purchase agreements (PPAs) for hidden costs or other restrictive contractual obligations before renewing deals or signing up to a new one.…


Offshore wind expansion: What it means for farmers affected

A new generation of offshore wind farms is being planned and that means farmland will be needed for cables and sub stations. But what does it practically mean for farmers…


Tips for maximising AD plant performance

There is scope for operators of farm-based anaerobic digestion (AD) plants to improve biogas yields and increase efficiency. Analysis of German and Austrian biogas plants by Phil Hobbs, technical director…


Advice on leasing out battery and generator sites

Farmers with sites potentially suitable for generator or battery-based grid-balancing systems are being urged to seize the initiative rather than wait for a developer to come knocking. Despite limited spare…

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Pressure mounts to ease grid capacity constraints

Energy regulator Ofgem is upping the pressure on distribution network operators (DNOs) to free up additional electrical grid capacity for new renewable energy projects. Following the publication of its Incentive…

Lower costs raise battery storage potential

Dramatic reductions in the cost of battery technology in recent years – largely due to advances in electric car production – could soon make the technology viable for many farm…

Tough talking needed on cable supply routes

Farmers who own land on routes proposed for underground cables connecting new onshore and offshore renewable energy developments are in a strong position to negotiate deals, but must do so…

Pioneering AD co-op progresses despite support cuts

Dairy farmer Richard Tomlinson believes AD is the next step in sustainable farming. More than two years ago he started looking at building a 240kW AD plant to process slurry from…

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Case studies


Shropshire farm sees solar heating payback

It is four years since one of the UK’s largest commercial solar thermal hot water systems, a 192kWth array to supply heat for rearing game birds, was installed for JE…


How one finisher uses waste food for a sustainable system

More than 30,000t of food waste, supplied by local vegetable growers, passes through the gate of beef finisher John Dale’s farm, near Wisbech each year. The waste food is used…

How a dairy farm AD plant saves £20,000 a year

Having dealt with unpredictable milk price and TB for years, it was the promise of a stable income that first attracted the Hunt family to anaerobic digestion (AD). Fed up…

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Opportunities remain in a subdued renewables sector

The number of new renewable energy projects getting under way has nosedived over recent months as financial returns and investor confidence have been hit by policy reforms and support cuts.…


Green energy sees move to alternative finance models

A dramatic increase in renewable energy projects being refinanced over recent months is creating opportunities for landowners but notes of caution too. Refinancing covers a number of areas, from those…


Support plans cast shadow over future for crop-based AD

Plans to limit Feed-in Tariffs (Fits) support for new biogas plants generating electricity from crop-based feedstocks threaten to restrict future energy crop opportunities for growers. The proposals are set out…


Farm energy opportunities remain despite Brexit uncertainty

Although UK energy policy is heavily tied to European legislation, industry experts are confident renewable energy opportunities will remain outside Europe, albeit under a policy framework still to be decided.…

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Feed In Tariff scheme to close in April 2019

The government has been criticised for issuing plans to close the Feed In Tariffs (Fits) scheme to new applicants from next year, but failing to outline how it will support…


Farm energy sector hits back at 'vegan' electricity tariff

A major green energy supplier has launched a “vegan electricity” tariff – promising to avoid sourcing power from anaerobic digesters fuelled by farm animal waste. Ecotricity said people were “unknowingly…


Threat to biofuel market defeated by farm lobby groups

A looming threat to cereal and rapeseed prices has been stopped after plans to cut the use of crop-based biofuels in the transport sector was abandoned by European politicians. A…


Farmers told to apply for climate change tax discount

The NFU has warned farmers they face rises in climate change taxes unless they register for a discount scheme before the 31 July deadline. The Climate Change Levy (CCL) is…

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VIDEO: Straw war over £100m biomass power station

The company behind a controversial straw-burning power station is considering an appeal after planning permission was refused for the venture. Mid-Suffolk District Council rejected the Eco2 application for a £100m…

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