Farmers could also be pivotal in supplying decentralised power networks, the study highlights, which looked into the opportunities and challenges of ‘vehicle to grid’ (V2G) technologies on farms.
‘Vehicle to grid’ technology enables energy stored in electric vehicles to be fed back into the national electricity network, or ‘grid’, to help supply energy at times of peak demand.
There is now a greater need for localised renewable energy in light of the Government’s target to ban diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040, and the need for new sustainable refuelling infrastructure in rural areas is more pressing than ever.
This practical approach to low emission transport technologies in rural areas is being outlined at the Energy and Rural Business Show taking place next February.
Farmers wanting to find out how they could tap into the opportunities presented by electric vehicles and machinery are invited to attend the free event and learn more.
‘Rural electricity networks’
An industry-led group could lead to trials of new electric and autonomous vehicles operating on the farm – and identify how local grid technologies, battery storage and V2G systems can come together to make this happen.
Leading the initiative is the NFU, alongside Warwickshire transport specialist Greenwatt, working in association with AHDB to investigate the practicalities of linking farm-generated renewable electricity and innovative transport technologies.
“We are exploring the opportunity for rural vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trials involving electric tractors and other off-road agricultural machinery, as well as highlighting the potential challenges of vehicles charging from often weak rural electricity networks,” says Jonathan Scurlock, from the NFU.
“Farm machinery manufacturers, electric vehicle specialists and battery storage experts, as well as university and government research bodies, are all participating with the common purpose of adding value to farm-generated renewable electricity.”
Mike Woollacott, from Greenwatt Technology, is a co-coordinator of the V2G Task and Finish group and is positive about the future
He says farms are “perfectly placed to be pivotal” in the generation, storage and supply of renewable electricity enabling greater deployment of electric vehicles on farms, horticultural and forestry businesses.
“Smarter farming will mean the adoption of battery powered and sometimes driverless vehicles on our farms,” Mr Woollacott says.
“As the National Grid decentralises, we need to test and demonstrate the practicalities of integrating the generation, storage and use of renewable energy as a clean and locally accessible source of transport fuel for rural businesses and communities.”