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Modelling farmer uptake of perennial energy crops in the UK


  • Sherrington, Chris
  • Moran, Dominic


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sherrington, Chris & Moran, Dominic, 2010. "Modelling farmer uptake of perennial energy crops in the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 3567-3578, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:7:p:3567-3578

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. P. Mathiou & Stelios Rozakis & Rafal Pudelko & A. Faber & A. Petsakos, 2014. "Utility maximising supply response: the case of perennial biomass plantations in Poland," Working Papers 2014-3, Agricultural University of Athens, Department Of Agricultural Economics.
    2. Alexander, Peter & Moran, Dominic, 2013. "Impact of perennial energy crops income variability on the crop selection of risk averse farmers," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 587-596.
    3. Witzel, Carl-Philipp & Finger, Robert, 2016. "Economic evaluation of Miscanthus production – A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 681-696.
    4. 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.
    5. Glithero, N. J. & Ramsden, S. J. & Wilson, P., 2013. "Potential for Second Generation Biofuel Feedstock from English Arable Farms," 87th Annual Conference, April 8-10, 2013, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 158858, Agricultural Economics Society.
    6. Vyn, Richard J. & Virani, Tasneem & Deen, Bill, 2012. "Examining the economic feasibility of miscanthus in Ontario: An application to the greenhouse industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 669-676.
    7. Clancy, D. & Breen, J.P. & Thorne, F. & Wallace, M., 2012. "The influence of a Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff on the decision to produce biomass crops in Ireland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 412-421.
    8. Tate, Graham & Mbzibain, Aurelian & Ali, Shaukat, 2012. "A comparison of the drivers influencing farmers' adoption of enterprises associated with renewable energy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 400-409.
    9. Glithero, N.J. & Wilson, P. & Ramsden, S.J., 2015. "Optimal combinable and dedicated energy crop scenarios for marginal land," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 82-91.
    10. 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.
    11. Adams, P.W.R. & Lindegaard, K., 2016. "A critical appraisal of the effectiveness of UK perennial energy crops policy since 1990," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 188-202.
    12. repec:eee:enepol:v:107:y:2017:i:c:p:548-560 is not listed on IDEAS

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