Farmers are leading a backlash against the Government’s latest cut to green energy subsidies, warning it will deprive the struggling agricultural sector of a valuable source of income. In a consultation quietly published late last month, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) proposed slashing subsidies for anaerobic digestion (AD) plants. Anaerobic digesters take organic materials, such as crops or agricultural waste, and break them down using bacteria to produce “biogas” and fertiliser. The gas can then be burnt to produce electricity, or processed and sold into the mains gas grid. DECC plans to remove subsidies for big new AD plants and cut support for smaller new plants. Farmers’ union the NFU has warned the changes could sound the “death knell” for new biogas on farms. It estimates that farmers own about 200 AD plants, about two-thirds of all such plants in the UK, while up to 1,000 farms may have an interest in AD, for example by supplying them with crops. Dr Jonathan Scurlock, NFU chief adviser on renewable energy said: “We are very worried now. This is bad news for the rural economy, and bad for agricultural efforts to tackle climate change.” He said there was a pipeline of up to 500 further AD plants in the early stages of development but that farmers would struggle to get financing for projects under the proposed cuts.
Telegraph 5th June 2016 read more »