Four Reasons to Consider Anaerobic Digestion
Apr 15 2014
There will be reduced returns from wind and solar installations following the cut in Feed in Tariff (FIT) rate by 20% from this month, but there is still keen interest in renewable projects. National agricultural and environmental consultancy ADAS (UK) says it is seeing a marked increase in those seeking advice on Anaerobic Digestion (AD) schemes in particular.
“This is because, in practice, AD schemes are seen as a viable income-generating option for many farmers and score over other technologies in a number of ways,” says Richard Sowden, renewable energy consultant with ADAS. “In particular we are seeing heightened interest in small scale on farm AD schemes.” Here are four reasons why:
- The advantage of AD projects on livestock farms is that minimal changes to the existing farming operation are required; and where the existing farm infrastructure can be used – like silage clamps and slurry stores – then capital costs are reduced.
- Planning consent is also usually more straightforward than for wind and solar projects and in some cases the cost of a full planning application can be avoided where a scheme can be approved under Agricultural Permitted Development Rights.
- One of the main attractions, however, is that because AD schemes generate electricity and heat they qualify for both FIT and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) income. From April 2014, a 250kW AD system will produce an income of up to £300,000 from Feed in Tariff plus exported electricity. Where heat produced by the CHP unit can be used locally, for example in a dairy or broiler unit, there is a potential additional income of up to £150,000 from the RHI. Finally, on-site use of electricity and/or heat will produce further savings on fuel bills.
- Schemes below 250kW have been given a boost through the availability of grants for up to £10,000 for feasibility studies. These grants, which are available from WRAP, are intended for livestock farms where the feedstock is predominantly animal waste although some energy crops can be included in the mix.
ADAS is typically working on feasibility studies with dairy or beef farms with 400+ animals, grassland for producing silage and broiler units. However, some clients are also looking at alternative feed stocks including pig muck, maize and sugar beet.
ADAS is sponsoring the national Muck and Grassland Event at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, 21st and 22nd May 2014 and can be found at stand number 902 in the tented muck area.
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