5 ways farmers use renewable energy
Global warming is already creating challenges in the world of agriculture, and without significant preventative action, this industry can only expect to suffer further as the crisis worsens. Climate change and its associated droughts, floods, and natural disasters will certainly not make farming easy!
Perhaps that’s why Mypower has seen so many people in agriculture act on their commitment to renewable energy. Farmers seem to naturally appreciate the importance of protecting our planet and its natural resources. After all, their livelihood depends on these things.
Using and creating renewable energy is one way that farmers can make a positive contribution. Of course, renewable energy has advantages for the agricultural industry beyond preserving the environment. For example, it can also help to save money on operations.
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is the opposite of fossil fuels. Because fossil fuels like oil and coal will eventually run out, we should be extremely careful about how often we use them.
Burning these fuels emits dangerous air pollutants too, which is another reason they should be avoided wherever possible. These pollutants are a major cause of climate change.
In contrast, renewable energy is a cleaner, more viable form of energy in the long term because it comes from inexhaustible supplies. It is produced using safe and sustainable sources like sunlight and water.
Read on to learn about 5 different ways that workers in agriculture have incorporated renewable energy into their field of work – we can all learn from their example!
A trend has been observed in the agricultural industry: farmers are increasingly switching from producing crops to developing solar energy. They are using their land to build solar for farms which should, in turn, help the UK to reach its renewable energy targets.
Of course, not everyone is abandoning their traditional produce altogether! There are also advantages to combining solar and crop production. An upfront investment in PV solar panels can result in decreased electricity costs later.
Usual business electricity costs are around 15p per unit. With solar, it is reduced to roughly 4-5p per unit. That’s an amazing incentive for farmers to embrace solar energy.
Another way that farmers have been reducing their reliance on fossil fuels and generating additional income using renewable energy is through the installation of wind turbines.
Agricultural land is generally considered ideal for wind turbines because it consists of wide-open spaces and it’s usually sufficiently separated from neighbours who could be affected by the noise.
The government has tried to encourage farmers to adopt wind energy production by introducing subsidies to support their initial investment. Over time, they can save substantial sums of money on operations, making it more affordable to produce food on their farms.
Plant-based fuels such as wood chips or bioenergy crops can be used to generate biomass power. For that reason, the agricultural industry is a critical force in the promotion of this renewable energy type.
Schemes like the Biomass Feedstock Innovations Programme are designed to support farmers to start planting and cultivating bioenergy crops. What makes bioenergy crops so attractive is that they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow.
The end product – biomass power – can be used instead of harmful fossil fuels.
Small-scale hydropower plants use water from streams or rivers which runs through a turbine. This turbine rotates and turns tools or a generator to produce electricity. It’s a popular form of producing renewable energy because it requires a relatively affordable upfront investment.
Farmers can use this energy to power their own operations, or they can connect to the electrical grid and offset their own electrical consumption.
As business owners across all industries look to achieve net-zero emissions by the year 2040 in line with nationwide energy targets, this is one popular method that farmers have adopted.
Around the world, farmers are beginning to embrace geothermal power. However, this remains a relatively untapped resource in the UK. This could be because of geographical limitations: the UK has less access to superheated groundwater than other countries.
There is still the potential for this sector of renewable energy to grow, though. Geothermal energy comes from a stable source, meaning it could pose a strong alternative to nuclear power.
Agricultural land makes up a large portion of the UK’s land usage, and because geothermal power requires large areas to be dug up or drilled, its progress will depend on the investment and commitment of the farming community.