Row of cows at farm in Shropshire

Renewable energy and the future for landowners

21/10/19Renewable energy and the future for landowners

Renewable energy is a vital part of every country’s strategy to become more environmentally friendly. Climate change is big business. Traditional forms of energy are either damaging to the environment or depleting finite resources. Governments and businesses are looking at new ways to generate energy efficiently. Increasing amounts of time, money and effort are being invested in the development of all kinds of energy-generating facilities, many of which use natural power generators, such as water and wind. As technology develops and becomes more efficient, its use will become more widespread and accessible.        

Winds of change

A variety of renewable energy solutions are also proving to be valuable assets to landowners and farmers throughout the UK. As the farming sector faces increasingly challenging conditions, it has been looking for ways to diversify its offering, to use its land resources in lucrative ways. One of the most popular ways to do this is to rent your land to windfarms. The wind turbine market in the UK is a growing one, with both land-based and offshore contributing thousands of megawatts to the UK energy sector. The UK is ranked sixth largest producer of wind power in the world, having overtaken Italy and France in 2012. It is only beaten by China, the USA, Germany, India and Spain, and it’s incredible to think that our tiny island produces more wind energy than Canada!

The UK has an installed capacity of 20.7GW and has been particularly successful in the offshore wind sector. Forests of wind turbines are visible out to sea around our coastlines and six of the 10 highest-capacity offshore wind projects in the world are in UK waters. Turbines must be able to connect to the National Grid, so the suitability of farmland in the UK is very much dependent on its location. Parts of rural England and Wales are ideal for such installations and the sight of those giant three-bladed propellers is becoming increasingly commonplace in the countryside.

Renewable opportunities

Other renewable technology that could help farmers diversify is biogas. The plants use degradable farming waste products to generate biogas and biofuel. This sector is one that is yet to find its full potential, but it’s definitely one for the future. Solar power remains a large generator of UK energy, but an expansive array of solar panels requires a great deal of land area – the support column of a wind turbine may require extensive foundations, but not much in the way of square-metreage at ground level. Hydroelectric power may be an option, if you have watercourses on your land, but this is another renewable energy source that has remained largely untapped in terms of widespread use.

It will be interesting to see what the future holds for farming and renewable energy, as new ways are found to work towards reducing the UK’s carbon footprint. Why not talk to our experts at Forge to see if there are renewable energy opportunities on your land? We can provide you with some ideas on how you can help future generations – through energy generation.

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