Tuesday, 14 June 2011


NFU Scotland is deeply disappointed that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is to proceed with low level increases in the tariffs available to those looking to generate energy from anaerobic digestion. Failure to significantly increase the rates now threatens to stifle the potential that the technology offers to Scotland.

While energy generation from solar sources is less important to Scotland, the DECC has also announced significant cuts in the feed-in tariff (FiTs) rates for energy from this source making development of solar power increasingly difficult in the future.

The new rates of FiTs proposed for energy generated by new anaerobic digestion and solar projects are unchanged from those originally proposed by DECC in its March consultation. That means that the DECC opted to ignore a huge response from industry to its consultation, urging a more positive approach to these technologies. The FiTs rates announced by the DECC will be effective for new plants from August onwards.

NFU Scotland President, Nigel Miller said:

“The news that energy tariffs available to anaerobic digestion projects in the future will only see limited increases is a blow and leaves such planned developments at a competitive disadvantage compared to other renewable sources.

“Anaerobic digestion (AD) has the potential to produce real value and generate energy from waste products in a reliable manner, and could make a huge contribution to Scotland and the UK’s renewable targets if given the chance. By failing to come forward with realistic tariff rates for energy from AD, the DECC runs the risk of sidelining this technology.

“The digestate produced from AD can also contribute as a valuable soil nutrient. The integral pasteurisation of the AD process ensures high levels of safety which makes the digestate a potential substitute for expensive oil based fertilisers.

“By limiting the increase in the tariffs available to future AD projects, the DECC has hit at the core of the Zero Waste Scotland approach and shown limited ambition in growing our green credentials. When there was a genuine prospect of a significant number of new AD plants being established, those looking at on-farm AD will now have to go back and do their sums to see if the significant investment is justified.

“While our climate may limit our solar energy options, we are aware of some in Scotland who were seriously looking at this. Again, the DECC decision to cut tarriff rates for energy from this source will be a significant blow.”