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Renewable energy in a post-subsidy world

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  • 3 min read

The future of renewable energy was debated at the Innovations in Energy Management Conference at Salford University at the end of March.

Terravesta was among an impressive line-up of speakers, including Lord Redesdale, CEO of the Energy Managers Association (EMA), Carbon Management Association (CMA) and Low Energy Company (LEC); Professor Alice Larkin, Climate Change Science and Energy Policy, University of Manchester; Dr Phil Coker, lecturer in Renewable Energy, University of Reading, and Tracy Fellows, CEO of the REA.

One key focus was renewable energy in a post-subsidy world. Now that the industry is maturing – although some of the subsidies have been reduced more significantly than expected – the plan has always been that the support mechanisms would taper away and the industry would stand up on its own two feet.

With energy demand predicted to grow year-on-year, energy firms are now investing heavily in renewable energy, and there are many success stories – including ours.

“We’ve ensured Terravesta’s offer can generate a viable income, meaning growers don’t have to rely on grants,” says George Robinson, managing director from Terravesta.

“For example, we’ve reduced costs of establishing the crop to less than 50% of what it was when there was an Energy Crops Scheme (ECS) grant available,” says George.

“Historically, planting costs under the ECS grant were £2500 per hectare, and the ECS grant covered half of this cost. Since the ECS grant finished, Terravesta has worked hard with suppliers to establish a rate of £1200, for contracts over 15 hectares, per hectare,” says George.

And while the business case for renewable energy needs to stack up, the ultimate aim is to work towards reducing carbon emissions and to promote sustainable energy use.

“Sustainability and energy efficiency were high on the agenda at the event. By signing the Paris climate change agreement in 2015, the UK has committed to reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable energy use, and miscanthus has a key role in contributing to this pledge,” says George.

William Cracrft-Eley presented on ‘Miscanthus – delivering renewable energy today, a growing part of the solution to climate change’. He discussed how the perennial energy crop, miscanthus, can deliver sustainable, carbon positive heat and power in the UK.

“The talk was very well received and there was a high calibre audience present. Terravesta will continue to ensure miscanthus is presented as a key part of the solution to climate change, and contributing to events like this is an important part of our strategy,” concludes George.