SCOTTISH farming leaders do not want to see farmscale renewable energy production die with the planned demise of the feed-in tariff next year.

Responding to the UK government's publication of a series of documents detailing the proposed closure of the FiT scheme – and the associated 'Call for Evidence' on the future for small-scale low-carbon generation – NFU Scotland this week pledged to lobby for new measures to encourage continued take-up.

"For farming businesses, renewable energy production has provided an opportunity to diversify income streams and reduce energy costs," said the union. "There has been significant uptake of renewable energy since the Energy Act 2008 which introduced FiTs for community or locally owned renewable energy sites.

"The total installed capacity of renewables electricity in Scotland has trebled since 2008. Renewable electricity generation is now equivalent to 68% of Scotland’s energy consumption. Production from community and locally owned renewable energy sites are responsible for almost 20% of total Scottish renewable energy production. On Scottish farms and estates, renewable energy production has increased by 65% since 2011."

Union policy manager Gemma Cooper continued: “The recently released consultation from BEIS is long awaited, however NFUS has concerns for the future of small scale on-farm generation. Previous cuts to the FiT have already reduced the deployment rate of these technologies, and further changes or removal of FiT can only compound this.

“NFUS is very supportive of renewable energy on farms; it allows our members to diversify their income streams, helps them reduce their electricity bills, and provide wider benefits to the public. We will be working with other renewable energy representatives to lobby the UK Government to ensure that there is a future for small scale generation.”

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