Coleg Cambria is planning a £20million carbon neutral farm to pioneer new technologies in digital agriculture and renewable energy.
The college’s Denbighshire site in Llysfasi is proposing to develop the hub as part of the North Wales Growth Bid, with support from North Wales Economic Ambition Board.
Their vision is to create a centre of excellence that will act as a test platform for new and existing renewable low carbon systems.
Chief executive David Jones believes the project would facilitate growth in the burgeoning commercial farming sector through the efficient use of digital precision primary food production.
“There is a demand for more skilled workers in agriculture in line with new technologies and rural sustainability,” said Mr Jones.
“Securing the future of farming is crucial for our communities, culture and the Welsh language.”
He added: “Coleg Cambria Llysfasi is at the forefront of advances in this arena and we are confident – as part of the imminent North Wales Growth Deal – the Carbon Neutral Farm will play a vital role in helping to prepare and deliver a dynamic workforce with the correct skills and knowledge needed to boost the rural economy.”
Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, has spoken of her ambition for the Welsh public sector to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Iain Clarke, Head of Llysfasi, says the college’s renewable energy hub would help to achieve that target and encourage other sectors to follow suit.
“The Welsh Government is working hard to become a global leader in clean energy and low carbon electricity generation, and we share their aspirations here at Coleg Cambria,” said Mr Jones.
“We are at the heart of industry and agriculture in north east Wales and training the future workforce via a series of award-winning apprenticeships, accredited qualifications and partnerships with leading organisations including LEAF Education, AGCO Corporation and Tilhill Forestry.
“Collaboration with Welsh Government, Natural Resources Wales and other key stakeholders and businesses will take this forward and play a driving role in supporting the overall Growth Vision for North Wales.”
The hub will aim to improve the uptake of renewable energy initiatives with a target of 40 projects over five years, along with improved knowledge transfer to 500 businesses and communities.
It will provide a test bed for commercial testing of market technology whilst delivering a financial injection and further diversification of the region’s rural economy.
For more on Coleg Cambria visit the website www.cambria.ac.uk