Barclays £100 million renewables investment fund for UK farmers

Barclays bank has launched a new £100 million investment fund for UK farmers to invest in renewable energy, the bank announced this week. The launch of the fund follows a survey of UK farmers carried out by Barclays which found that over one-third are “expecting to invest in renewable energy, with the majority doing so within the next year.”

Some 80% of the farmers questioned said they think that renewable energy can provide significant cost savings, with 60% saying that renewable energy could generate additional income for their farm business, Barclays said. Meanwhile, Barclays itself predicts that the costs of wind power will fall by up to 50% in the next three to five years.

“What farmers see is a win-win – lower costs and increased income, and the majority expect the investment to pay for itself in under 10 years…they are looking forward to many further years of lower energy costs and a potentially new income as they sell energy back to the grid,” Travers Clarke-Walker, Product and Marketing Director for Barclays Business, said.

Barclays will work with the UK’s National Farmers Union in implementing the fund. Meurig Raymond, NFU Deputy President, said: “given the significant up-front costs of renewable technologies, commercial lending is essential to unlocking these opportunities, so it’s great to see Barclays committing to make additional funding to the sector.”

Meanwhile, the UK government this week announced a £6.5 million investment in university courses aimed at developing engineering skills for the renewable energy industry. From next year students will start university courses at the Universities of Edinburgh, Exeter and Strathclyde.

“Engineering skills are vital for the growth of a more sustainable economy and are in high demand from employers. These students will have the chance to work with some of the leading energy companies and tackle one of our biggest challenges – developing technology for a greener future,” Vince Cable, the UK’s Business Secretary said.

Both announcements come shortly after a separate announcement last month that Blackstone’s, one of the world’s largest asset management and private equity firms, is investing in the Meerwind offshore wind farm in Germany.

Zoë Casey,