Between 1990 and 2020 the contribution of energy supply to the UK and Wales’ GHG emissions fell by 70% and 55% respectively, with renewable energy produced on farmland playing a central role in these reductions, Iwan Pugh-Jones the president of FUW (Farmers Union of Wales) Montgomershire says Farmers can be incentivised to do more.

Feed-in Tariffs introduced in 2010 were instrumental in more than doubling the proportion of renewable electricity consumed in Wales to 50% during the period to 2018.

During our meetings with politicians from all parties at the summer shows this month and last month, we highlighted that both the UK and Welsh Governments must step up efforts that restore growth in the industry by incentivising on-farm production of renewable energy – thereby reducing the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels and imported energy – without compromising agricultural production.

In response to a recent consultation, we welcomed the Welsh Government’s ambition to set a target for at least 1.5GW of renewable energy capacity to be locally owned by 2035 and its acknowledgement that the uptake of small-scale renewable energy technologies could be a key contributor to meeting this target.

We have highlighted the fact that pathways to reaching such targets must include urgent action at all levels of government. This must include the introduction of new incentives for farmers to invest into small-scale renewable energy projects on their land and buildings as well as the removal of barriers to such developments if the required fivefold increase in the generation of electricity in Wales between now and 2050 is to be achieved.

We were therefore happy to welcome the amendment at Stage Three of the Agriculture (Wales) Bill by Jane Dodds MS which is now part of the Bill. This amendment encourages agricultural businesses to manage energy effectively, including by adopting energy efficiency and energy saving practices, and generating renewable energy on their land.

Our reliance on and exposure to global fossil fuel markets has been laid bare over recent years. Vast amounts of renewable energy are produced on Welsh farmland, but we have only tapped into a fraction of what is possible. We need to ensure that barriers are removed and incentives restored in order to boost agriculture’s contribution to future energy targets.

We now hope that this will be reflected in the final Sustainable Farming Scheme consultation later this year, and does so in such a way that the scheme can provide meaningful support to farmers with investing into renewable energy in future.


Source: Country Times

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