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Today’s Energy Bill good news for farmers

The government’s Energy Bill, announced today, has been welcomed as a positive move for farmers by energy crop supplier Terravesta.

The Energy Bill, introduced by Edward Davey, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, lays out significant electricity market reform. It includes plans to treble investment in clean power generation to £7.6 billion by 2020 – and farmers are set to benefit, says Terravesta chairman William Cracroft-Eley.

“Today’s announcement shows that the government is putting serious backing behind a shake-up of power generation infrastructure in the UK, and this is certainly a step in the right direction for the energy crop market. As we move towards decarbonisation of current supply, investor support means demand for alternative fuels such as biomass is set to soar. Energy crop growers who are ready meet demand and supply resources like miscanthus will reap the rewards.”

The Bill’s framework is expected to help diversify the energy supply market, taking the percentage of the UK’s energy generated by renewables from 11% today to around 30% by 2020. Davey’s announcement also outlined plans for ministers to take powers to set a decarbonisation range for the power sector by 2030. As part of this, major suppliers such as coal-fired power stations will be obliged to adopt low-carbon alternatives to current practices. This, says William, is where biomass boilers – and energy crop suppliers in particular – come in.

“As government measures are implemented in line with fast-approaching targets, and investment funds are spent, the electricity industry will be under pressure to “keep the lights on”. Suppliers like coal-fired power stations need to rely on a new fuel that is easily integrated, readily available and sustainable. Unlike other renewables that are weather-dependent, such as wind turbines, biomass can be burned when needed – in the same way that coal can. Since energy crops can deliver commercial yields within three years, and pellets can be co-fired with fossil fuels or burnt exclusively following power station conversion, miscanthus growers are in a unique position – and we are confident that if they can grow it, then power stations will buy it.”

Heralded by some observers as a wonder crop, miscanthus cane can be grown on poorer quality land while still delivering high annual yields for 20 or more years. With extremely low inputs, technical progress in planting leading to quicker and better establishment, and a dry harvest in a season that doesn’t conflict with other crops, miscanthus has a great deal to offer farmers.

Thanks to long-term commercial partnerships with power generators, Terravesta is keen to process as much cane as possible – managing the whole supply chain process, from grower to pelleting to end-user. As a result, the company is now offering 10-year index-linked contracts that provide an attractive and predictable return to growers, and offering a clear element of security to future supply.

For more information on the miscanthus opportunity, please visit www.terravesta.com or call 01522 731873

 

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