The vision highlights how UK farms and rural communities will be making a significant contribution to a resilient, low-carbon energy system by 2020.
The report shows that there is at least 10GW of untapped resources across UK farms, equivalent to more than three times the installed capacity of the proposed new nuclear power plant at Hinckley Point C and a significant increase on current levels. But despite various efforts to help farmers negotiate the energy landscape farmers are not yet fulfilling their potential as significant players in our energy system.
Farm Power's Vision for 2020
By 2020, UK farms and rural communities will be making a significant contribution to a resilient low-carbon energy system.
We believe that:
♦ Despite the pioneering efforts of some, the considerable potential of farms and rural communities to contribute to the energy system remains largely untapped;
♦ The potential can be realised in a manner that enhances food production and a variety of other societal goals including:
◊ the provision of essential ecosystem services, such as improved carbon, biodiversity, water and land management; and
◊ job creation and rural economic development;
♦ These broader goals - and the potential for energy investments to support them - must be explicitly factored into decision making around the UK's energy future (yet are currently largely ignored);
♦ The income provided by energy production will increase the economic resilience of farms and thus the UK food system
♦ Farm-based energy provides an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between farmers and their communities through mechanisms such as shared ownership and jointly-constructed community energy plans;
♦ Investment in sustainable farm-based energy is a means to kick-start the inevitable transition to a smart, dynamic and increasingly decentralised energy system.
To achieve this the Farm Power Coalition will:
♦ Help farmers make informed choices about the best technologies and options for their businesses
♦ Work with Government and business to:
◊ Break down the barriers that are stifling investment in sustainable farm-based energy
◊ Put in place a supportive regulatory, planning and financial environment
◊Ensure that energy assets are located appropriately, and are designed to maximise co-benefits;
♦ Strive to create markets for sustainable farm-based energy, both within local communities, and along the corporate agricultural supply chain (and beyond)
♦ Work to ensure that farms and rural communities have easy, fair and affordable access to the grid.