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Stackyard News Sep 03
news index     Conference outlines renewable energy options for Cumbria's farmers

rural futuresCumbrian farmers are the target of a special conference on the practicalities and the finances of renewable energy sources which is being staged at Newton Rigg, near Penrith in October.

With worldwide demands to increase levels of energy generated from renewable projects alongside the need for farmers in the county to examine other sources of income, Cumbria’s Rural Futures project has organised the one-day Renewable Energy Conference on October 2.

The Department of Trade and Industry has recently made further moves to encourage the use of biomass power following the launch of its Renewables Obligation in 2002, which set targets for energy suppliers to source an increasing amount of their energy from renewable sources.

“ The conference is aimed at farmers to raise awareness and at a practical level to examine the possibilities of encouraging renewable energy projects in Cumbria,” said Rural Futures project manager Paul Harper.

“ The Government has significant targets to meet to create energy from renewable sources. While currently the economics for some sources may not be great, this could soon change through a mixture of increased subsidies and reduced returns for other farming options,” he added.

“ The demand from farmers for more information on renewable energy prospects was demonstrated at a recent meeting organised by Rural Futures which attracted almost 50 people,” said Mr Harper.

There are numerous diverse options for on-farm renewable energy projects ranging from large investments to a no-cost change of policy to growing crops for the production of biodiesel.

Experts will outline to the conference the availability of grant aid, the policy and the economics of different options before the setting up of three workshops during the day with farmers taking part in as many as they wish.

Julian Carter is general manager of Renewables Northwest with over 15 years’ experience in the electrical supply industry. He has a leading role in policy development in renewable energy working with the Regional Assembly and local authorities across north west England.

More follows Sue Finlay is a senior policy advisor for Defra, responsible for the Energy Crops grant scheme, proposed bio-energy scheme and policy work on liquid fuels.

Miles Postlethwaite who lives at Lorton and manages Turbine Services, a company selling small scale wind and water turbines for farms.

Robin Twizell is managing director of Renewable Energy from Agriculture. This organisation works for farmers arranging contracts for farm crops for the energy market.

Carolyn Trimble is a director of the woodland consultancy, IndiWoods Ltd. They help farmers generate income from woodland, including income as an energy source.

Andrew Lloynd is the Community Renewables Officer for Claren, working to promote renewable energy options for local communities.

Philip Metcalfe senior consultant agricultural engineer with ADAS Organics in Wolverhampton, is from an Eden Valley farming background has been involved with evaluating and designing biomass energy conversion systems involving straw and wastes, farm scale anaerobic digestion, hydro and wind energy as well as managing biomass energy resource studies.

Mark Christensen works for Farmatic, a company involved with producing energy and fertiliser from large-scale anaerobic digesters. He has first hand knowledge of such a plant which operates in Devon, using cattle slurry and food waste.


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