FARMERS could be in for a windfall if they take up the challenge of decarbonising the UK’s national heat supply.

The claim comes from Dr Jonathan Scurlock, chief adviser for renewable energy and climate change at the English National Farmers Union.

Said Dr Scurlock: “With dramatic falls in the cost of solar PV, onshore and offshore wind, as well as battery energy storage technology, the prospect of complete decarbonisation of the UK's electricity supply is now in sight. However, there is still a huge challenge ahead to decarbonise Britain’s heat supply.

“There’s a requirement for large amounts of low-carbon gas to displace natural fossil gas, and this presents a great opportunity for farmers and landowners. An increased supply of agricultural feedstocks will be needed to fuel a growing bio-based economy, including a large fleet of biomethane plants and new processes such as synthetic gas from biomass.”

Dr Scurlock, who has been confirmed as opening speaker and chair of the keynote session on day two of the Energy Now Expo on February 7 and 8, 2018, in Telford, insisted that on-farm renewables will remain an exciting and fast-moving sector in the coming year.

“The first electric tractors may be on sale in Europe as early as 2018, and the escalating energy demands of battery cars could create opportunities for farmers to host charging stations," he said. "Large vehicles may also function like mobile storage batteries, earning income through ‘vehicle-to-grid’ services, and allowing access to ultra-low-cost charging."

In addition to Dr Scurlock, over 60 speakers have been confirmed for the Energy Now Expo, which will cover a range of topics focusing on current and future renewable energy opportunities for farmers.