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Modelling farmer uptake of perennial energy crops in the UK

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  • Sherrington, Chris
  • Moran, Dominic
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    Abstract

    The UK Biomass Strategy suggests that to reach the technical potential of perennial energy crops such as short rotation coppice (SRC) willow and miscanthus by 2020 requires 350,000 hectares of land. This represents a more than 20-fold increase on the current 15,546 hectares. Previous research has identified several barriers to adoption, including concerns over security of income from contracts. In addition, farmers perceive returns from these crops to be lower than for conventional crops. This paper uses a farm-level linear programming model to investigate theoretical uptake of energy crops at different gross margins under the assumption of a profit-maximising decision maker, and in the absence of known barriers to adoption. The findings suggest that while SRC willow, at current prices, remains less competitive, returns to miscanthus should have encouraged adoption on a wider scale than at present. This highlights the importance of the barriers to adoption. Recently announced contracts for miscanthus appear to offer a significant premium to farmers in order to encourage them to grow the crops. This raises the question of whether a more cost-effective approach would be for government to provide guarantees addressing farmers concerns including security of income from the contracts. Such an approach should encourage adoption at lower gross margins.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V2W-4YRGJHV-1/2/4003471180a41ca0e0774310371450dc
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 7 (July)
    Pages: 3567-3578

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:7:p:3567-3578

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

    Related research

    Keywords: Energy crops Farmer adoption;

    References

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    1. Meijer, Ineke S.M. & Hekkert, Marko P. & Koppenjan, Joop F.M., 2007. "The influence of perceived uncertainty on entrepreneurial action in emerging renewable energy technology; biomass gasification projects in the Netherlands," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 5836-5854, November.
    2. Sherrington, Chris & Bartley, Justin & Moran, Dominic, 2008. "Farm-level constraints on the domestic supply of perennial energy crops in the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 2504-2512, July.
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    Cited by:
    1. Glithero, N.J. & Ramsden, S.J. & Wilson, P., 2013. "Barriers and incentives to the production of bioethanol from cereal straw: A farm business perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 161-171.
    2. Tranter, R.B. & Swinbank, A. & Jones, P.J. & Banks, C.J. & Salter, A.M., 2011. "Assessing the potential for the uptake of on-farm anaerobic digestion for energy production in England," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 2424-2430, May.

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