Marginal farm land is land characterised by low food, feed and fodder crop productivity due to soil and environmental limitations. Such land may however be utilised for bio-energy crop production. We investigate the economic viability of small scale combined heat and power anaerobic digestion (CHP AD) projects based on feedstock from farm waste and bio-energy crops grown on a representative temperate latitude marginal farm land in the UK. Using a realistic set of five project feedstock-mix scenarios, and considering standard technology and current market and policy regimes, we deploy a stochastic framework to assess prices of electricity required for these projects to break-even and conduct sensitivity analyses of key project parameters. Accounting for the current market prices and policy tariffs for heat, we find that critical electricity sale prices of about 17.46 p/kWh to 27.12 p/kWh are needed for the projects to break even. These prices are well above the current combined feed-in-tariff support and market prices for electricity over the past years in the UK. We conclude that the use of marginal land to generate power for export using small-scale CHP AD in the UK and the wider temperate latitude countries is unviable, if energy and farming policy regimes do not provide substantial support.
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