According to last autumn's NFU Farmer Confidence Survey of 756 members, taken between October and November 2017, agricultural diversification into renewable energy shows no signs of slowing down, with results from a fourth consecutive year showing an increased utilisation of a range of technologies.
Between 2014 and 2017, the weighted average uptake of renewables among NFU members has grown from over a quarter of farmers and growers to nearly two-fifths (39%). Solar PV remains by far the most popular technology, installed by nearly one-third of all NFU members, followed by medium-sized installations of biomass boilers and wind turbines, all mostly aimed at meeting on-farm energy needs. An astonishing 72% of poultry producers are using renewables, but in fact all farming sectors are increasing their production and use of clean energy, in order to manage energy costs and enhance productivity.
These survey results coincide with record output from large wind farms in the UK, which exceeded 10 gigawatts for about eleven hours in the middle of last week, producing between 25% and 40% of total national power needs over the course of 16th and 17th January.
Energy advice for our farmer and grower members is available through the NFU Energy Service, delivered by FEC Energy - call 0370 844 5700. We encourage agricultural businesses to explore the potential cost saving and new income streams that renewable energy can bring to all farms.