Energy Crops can be grouped into two main categories: Trees/Shrubs and Grasses. Perhaps the best known is SRC Willow, but there are other options that we can advise on: Poplar or Eucalyptus for trees, and Miscanthus for grasses.
Each energy crop has its own benefits, but not all of them will thrive in every location as each have their own criteria and preferred growing conditions to achieve maximum yields. Therefore, the best choice of energy crop for your farm will depend on your land’s features and soil quality.
Why are Energy Crops important?
It’s no longer news that the world’s atmosphere is warming. The science is undeniable and now is the time for action.
We believe that energy crops are a vital part of the complex strategy required to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The UK government has committed to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by 50% of 1990 levels by 2025 and by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. Further to this, in May 2019, the UK Parliament declared a unilateral ‘climate change emergency’. In 2022, the NFU declared its intent to push for Net Zero by 2040.
We see our role as helping farmers and growers contribute to the UK’s efforts to meet these ambitious targets. In order for them to be met, the UK must start to drastically reduce its reliance on fossil fuels for heat and power. This is where energy crops come in. By burning wood chip and grass pellets, power generation can begin to remove coal, oil and gas as its source of fuel. Whilst the scale of such projects is currently quite small, we know that the full potential of energy crops as part of the UK’s arsenal to reduce CO2 must be realised and soon.
Further research is required to ensure that the carbon footprint of energy crop production does not negate its benefit to the environment. We can advise you on fully auditing your operation’s environmental impact, both before and after diversifying into farming energy crops.