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ETI publish case studies showing how farmers can diversify their income and increase the productivity of their land by planting energy crops

5 October 2018

Hannah Evans
Hannah Evans Practice Manager, Bioenergy – Energy Systems Catapult

Bioenergy can play a significant and valuable role in the future UK energy system, helping to reduce the cost of meeting the UK’s 2050 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and produce up to 10% of UK energy needs.

Delivering 10% of projected energy demand in the 2050s will require around three times as much bioenergy to be generated as today.

As the UK Government prepares the framework for the UK exiting the EU, it must decide how farming will be supported outside of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). These case studies show that planting bioenergy crops provides an opportunity for farmers to increase the profitability and productivity of their land whilst also producing biomass feedstock that can help reduce the UK’s GHG emissions.

The development of new farming support mechanisms presents an opportunity to join up agricultural and energy policies which can support the growth of sustainable biomass in ways that improve overall land productivity.

All three participating farms improved productivity by siting energy crops on land which was either ‘surplus’ due to changes in livestock management, or because it was of poor quality for arable farming or grazing livestock. This shows that energy crop planting does not need to be in direct competition with food production. Instead it can complement other farming activities.