Scottish Power has announced its intention to contract farmers to produce 250,000 tonnes of energy crops to replace coal burned at Scotland’s two coal-fired power stations, Cockenzie and Longannet.
The project will use about 35,000 hectares, 12% of Scotland’s total agricultural land. Scottish Power aims to substitute 5% of its coal consumption with energy crops by 2013.
Farmers will grow a mix of crops, including cereals and short rotational crop such as willow coppice. Scottish Power says it intends to maximize the use of set-aside and minimize the effect on land used for food crops.
Frank Mitchell, Scottish Power’s Generation Director, said: “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 Scottish Power offering support for the Scottish agricultural community”.