The UK Government is committed to producing 15% of all our energy from renewable sources by 2020, and wind energy is expected to make a sizeable contribution towards that goal. As a result, financial incentives such as the new Feed-in Tariffs currently under consultation for April 2010 are making the business case for investment stack up for those with the right resources.
Mark Newton from Fisher German is one of the country’s leading experts in wind energy. He says: "I believe that every farm in the UK will have a wind turbine in five years’ time."
On-farm wind generation can range in size from small systems that power remote farm buildings, through to medium-sized wind turbines that power local buildings and sell to the Grid, up to multi-million-pound wind farm developments. Turbines must be well sited and have a consistent and adequate wind speed if they are to be a good investment.
This free Farming Futures guide outlines how you can assess your wind resource, what you need to consider when putting together a planning proposal, and where you can go for further sources of information and advice.
Madeleine Lewis from Farming Futures said: "Farmers with the right resources can do well out of renewable energy production. Producing energy on-farm can turn a profit, cushion you against rising oil and gas prices, and provide the UK with a secure, clean and renewable energy supply. It can also give access to new and better markets due to growing consumer interest in ‘low-carbon’ food."
"In our 2009 survey, 50% of farmers said they were taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their farm, and we believe that on-farm energy generation could become the norm in the not-too-distant future."
Dr Jonathan Scurlock, the NFU’s Chief Adviser on renewable energy and climate change said: "The NFU’s aspiration is that every farmer should have the opportunity to be a net exporter of low-carbon energy. National targets and government incentives for renewable energy are creating significant new business opportunities."
"This guide is a great first step to learning about wind power, after which we recommend that farmers talk to a range of different advisers to look at options for making energy production a profitable part of their business."
Onshore generation of electricity from wind power can represent a significant business opportunity for UK farmers and land managers.
Wind power can be harnessed by the installation of a wind turbine or turbines that will generate a clean and renewable source of electricity to be used either on-farm or sold to the Grid. This can displace electricity generated from fossil fuels, thus reducing business costs from rising oil and gas prices, reducing carbon emissions and ensuring a profitable and low-carbon business.
On-farm wind turbines must be well sited and have a consistent and adequate wind speed if they are to be a profitable investment.