Severn Wye Energy Agency - advice on all aspect of renewable energy and grants - 01594 545360 www.swea.co.uk. Free and impartial advice can also be obtained from the Energy Saving Trust on 0800 512012 or www.energysavingtrust.org.uk
Renewable Heat Incentive - On 10 March 2011, the Government announced the details of the Renewable Heat Incentive policy to "revolutionise the way heat is generated and used in buildings and homes". There will be support for a range of technologies and fuel uses including:
- solid and gaseous biomass
- solar thermal
- ground and water source heat pumps
- on-site bio gas
- deep geothermal
- energy from waste
- injection of biomethane into the grid
This announcement has been a boost to the industry and potential investors, and since farmers are well placed to develop many of the above, this creates a real opportunity for new projects.
Anaerobic digestion on farms can provide additional income through using the biogas to generate electricity and heat, or upgrading it to a transport fuel. This contributes towards renewable energy targets, with the option of using the energy to supply the local community. It also offers environmental benefits by reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with farming, and promotes the recycling of nutrients which can be used in place of artificial fertilisers. The process can use waste biomass, manures, slurry and energy crops and, by careful planning and adaptive land use, can maximise the use of the whole crop for food and energy.
The UK Government is currently promoting anaerobic digestion as a key technology for biodegradable waste treatment and energy production. The Government encourages the generation of renewable electricity from anaerobic digestion in two ways:
- By offering a higher price for renewable energy through its Renewable Obligation Certificates – this means suppliers have an obligation to supply a minimum amount of energy from renewable sources, verified by the Certificate, or pay a penalty.
- By the introduction of special feed-in tariffs for renewable electricity supplied to the grid, and a separate feed-in tariff for heat planned for 2011.
- Anaerobic digestion can be used to produce agricultural fertiliser which has quality assurance.
- The Government has declared that it will implement measures to promote a 'huge increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion
FWAG is developing with partners a Renewable Energy package for farmers as a one stop shop for up to date information of the latest opportunities in renewable energy. Contact FWAG’s Specialist adviser Adam Lockyear Alockyear@somerset.gov.uk
The Energy Crops Scheme
Natural England offers grants to farmers in England for the establishment of miscanthus and short rotation coppice from a £47 million fund, giving grants 40% of actual costs. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Axis 4 - Local Action (the Leader approach) - Defra has had to reduce the initial allocation of budgets to Local Action Groups (LAGs). To help LAGs in the South West manage this, their funds will need to be temporarily suspended for new applications. Defra will be working with to ensure LAGs' existing legal commitments to projects are met and the Leader Approach can continue to be delivered. LAG budgets will be revisited following a review of their performance,but some LAGs are still requesting expressions of interest even though applications may not be immediately considered.
The first UK website designed to help farmers and other small businesses navigate the maze of environmental legislation/ www.environment-agency.gov.uk/netregs FWAG also offers Environmental Cross Compliance Health Checks for farmers claiming on Single Payment and Environmental Stewardship Schemes.
Natural Research Environment Council (NERC): Biodiversity in Britain's Landscapes
A new study has been commissioned examing the role biodiversity plays in the ecosystem services provided by Britain's landscapes. The six year, £13m Biodiversity & Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) programme is funded by the Natural Research Environment Council (NERC). Grants are available for research and fellowships.www.nerc.ac.uk