Union Joins Calls for Feed In Tariff Commitment

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Future of Scottish farm renewables dependent on FiTs post-2019

NFU Scotland joined others in the Scottish renewable sector in calling for the UK Government to commit to Feed in Tariffs (FiTs) beyond 2019 to build on the current success story.

An industry delegation, co-ordinated by Scottish Renewables, met with the Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, Clare Perry, in London this week.  The delegation included David Smith, NFU Scotland’s North East Region Renewables Co-ordinator.

Production from community and locally owned renewable energy sites in Scotland, including farms and estates, are responsible for almost 20% (1,664GWh) of total Scottish renewable energy production.  That valuable growth in renewable energy has had a substantial benefit to farm businesses and the rural economy but needs an early commitment to continue FiTs beyond 2019 if growth is to be maintained.

Mr Smith of Skelmonae Windfarm, a family run four-turbine installation near Ellon, said: “It is most disappointing that, as things stand, FiTS are being phased out at this important time for renewable energy development.  As the technology becomes more affordable and efficient, there is greater potential for rural communities and businesses to grab the opportunity and take advantage of the free wind, sun and water to cheaply and efficiently heat their homes, schools and village halls.

 “At a farm level, dairy farmers, poultry and pig producers as well as the horticulture sector are all dependant on using large volumes of electricity and heat, and the ability to produce and use their own power would help them to become more efficient and reduce their costs.

“Energy storage is also becoming more efficient and affordable.  This has the potential of spreading the power produced, when the sun shines and the wind blows, throughout the whole day, as and when the peak demand requires it, such as at milking time or a couple of hours before the local church or village hall opens.

“In fact, for important local facilities like church halls and community centres, storage of cheap renewable energy means they could be kept warm and dry at all times.

“To cut FiTs at this time risks putting the brakes on investment and planning for future developments.  There is still a lot more potential and possibilities for renewable energy in the future, but FiTs are an essential part of making new projects economically viable.

And while FITS may seem like further expenditure to Government, there will be an opportunity in many cases to recover much of this investment over the years in the form of taxation and council rates.”  

Notes to editors

  • The total installed capacity of renewables electricity in Scotland has trebled since 2008 and is now equivalent to 68% of Scotland’s energy consumption.
  • Production from community and locally owned renewable energy sites, including farms and estates, are responsible for almost 20% (1,664GWh) of total Scottish renewable energy production. 
  • Since June 2016, the largest proportional increases in operational capacity have been in the community group and housing association ownership categories, with capacities increasing by 21% and 25% respectively.
  • On their own, 600 renewable energy installations on Scottish farms and estates have a capacity of 266 Megawatts (around 3% of Scotland’s total renewable energy capacity).   
    • 78% of the 266MW capacity generated on Scottish farms and estates comes from wind.
    • 10% of the 266MW capacity generated on Scottish farms and estates comes from biomass.
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