ScottishPower is looking to contract Scottish farmers to produce 250,000 tonnes of energy crops to be burned at Scotland’s two coal fired power stations, Cockenzie and Longannet. The energy crop will displace coal burned in the stations.
The company says that such energy crops provide ‘carbon neutral’ fuel, as the CO2 that is released when the crop is burned is equal to the CO2 that is captured as the plant is grown. ScottishPower already burn carbon neutral biomass such as wood at the coal fired power stations as part of their renewable programme.
The project will use about 12% of Scotland’s total agricultural land – roughly 35,000 hectares – with 5% of the company’s coal requirement displaced by energy crops by 2013.
The energy crops will be a mix of crop types including cereal crops and short rotational crop such as willow coppice. ScottishPower, part of the Iberdrola group, plans to maximise the use of set aside, and minimise the effect on land used for food crops.
‘This is a significant step in our renewable energy programme ultimately displacing 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. However, it is also an excellent opportunity for farmers with ScottishPower offering support for the Scottish agricultural community,’ said Frank Mitchell, ScottishPower’s Generation Director.