New research by a coalition of renewable industry leaders has revealed significant amount of untapped renewable energy available from local farms across the UK.
The research, carried out by the Farm Power coalition, found that there was at least 10 gigawatts (GW) of potential renewable energy capacity on UK farms, with 2.5GW being small-scale wind power.
This is the equivalent of powering 1.3 million homes.
The report concludes that this opportunity could be realised if a number of barriers, such as a supportive planning policy and access to grid connections, were removed.
The coalition was founded by the sustainability organisation Forum for the Future, and Nottingham Trent University, with steering group members including National Grid and the National Farmers Union.
The document outlines a number of simple measures to resolve this, including the need for government to publicly back the industry and simplify the planning procedure for smaller-scale applications.
The report also highlights growth in the medium wind sector, but warns that positive policies are needed in the future. These include improved finance lending and a fairer level of financial support.
At present, financial support for small and medium wind is decreasing at a rate to which the industry is unable to keep up with. This means farmers and domestic users could be less able to take advantage of these low carbon technologies in the future.
Louisa Coursey, Small and Medium Wind Development Manager at RenewablesUK, said: “This new report shows that Britain’s rural communities can play a crucial role in our transition from fossil fuels to clean energy sources such as onshore wind. It can help revive our rural economy with new jobs and investment, while providing a self-sufficient electricity supply to millions.
“At a time when small-scale wind is fighting for survival due to a lack of government support, this evidence should make Ministers think again before they allow this great British success story to fall by the wayside”.