Renewable energy boost for Welsh farmers
According to HSBC Agriculture, renewable energy will be increasingly relied upon in the future of Welsh farming to provide a secondary income and diversification.
Speaking at the Royal Welsh Show, HSBC’s regional agriculture manager for Wales Euryn Jones said HSBC had seen a rising interest in renewable energy from the Welsh farming community. So far this year, Jones said, HSBC’s Agriculture team had provided more than £5m of funding for wind turbines, hydro schemes and solar energy projects. HSBC has also approved another £1.8m for its farming customers to invest in similar technology.
Euryn Jones said: “Nearly two-thirds (65%) of the investment to date has been in wind energy; one-fifth was allocated to solar panels (20%) and 15% of funding has been provided for other forms of renewable energy projects, primarily hydro schemes.”
Last year the HSBC Agriculture team worked with Welsh farmer Tegwyn Jones to install a hydroelectric facility on his farm. The scheme cost £500,000 and produces 100kW of energy each year which, according to the farmer, complements his first venture into hydroelectricity. The new technology is estimated to generate at least £75,000 per-year.
Jones believes a large number of Welsh farmers were thinking about installing renewable energy technology on their farms. He said: “In addition to the £6.8m that we have agreed to fund so far, we are discussing several more wind and hydro projects with farmers, both customers and prospective customers. Renewable energy provides an opportunity for farms that are appropriately sited with strong and reliable sources of wind or water to build a valuable additional flow of income for their businesses.
“As with all major investments, it is important that farmers think carefully about all aspects of a project before committing themselves. We would always encourage farmers to take reliable professional advice, particularly where they are inexperienced in the sector.”
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