Photo: A field irrigated with solar energy - stock photo

Pioneering a Sustainable Future for European Agriculture through Innovative RES Integration

New EU-funded project aims to enhance the sustainable production of renewable energy at farm-level.

As the demand for both energy and food continues to rise, a competitive conflict for land use has emerged. There is therefore a need for a solution to harmonize these competing interests. For this purpose, the new EU-funded project called HarvRESt has been launched with the aim of vertically integrating Renewable Energy Sources (RES) into farms. This approach not only makes farms climate-neutral but also optimizes production, reduces their impact on natural resources and biodiversity, and provides energy services to communities, thereby diversifying economic income.

The HarvRESt project acknowledges the challenges faced by agricultural communities and seeks to identify, understand, and overcome the existing barriers hindering the widespread adoption of this innovative approach. Current initiatives often overlook the complex interactions and factors within the farming and RES context, resulting in ineffective support for decision-making based on accurate projections, estimations, and forecasts.

Bridging the gap by developing a tool

HarvRESt will therefore bridge this gap by consolidating and enhancing existing knowledge, creating an Agricultural Virtual Power Plant capable of running diverse scenarios and farm configurations. This tool will determine the best operational procedures for a given RES solution, providing valuable data to a decision support system. This system will weigh trade-offs and key indicators, offering tailor-made recommendations to farmers and policymakers.

To ensure the successful execution of HarvRESt and the implementation of its recommendations, the project will adopt a multi-actor approach. This approach includes co-creation sessions involving various stakeholders and the provision of training materials to empower farmers. Also, HarvRESt will be implemented across four use cases, representing different farm topologies, stakeholder diversity, organizational structures, geographical conditions, and RES technologies.

The project was kicked off with a partner meeting on 30-31 January 2024 in Zaragoza (ES)hosted by the coordinator CIRCE Research Center where the partners met to plan the work that is going to be conducted over the next three years.

"We are very excited to start working on the project as HarvRESt will merge the best things from the agricultural sector and the renewable energy sector. By addressing the barriers faced by farmers and leveraging innovative technologies, we aim to create a more sustainable and resilient future for European agriculture," says Roberto Lázaro Gastón, Project Coordinator & Technical Leader from CIRCE Research Center.

Facts about HarvRESt

  • HarvRESt is an acronym for Harnessing the vast potential of RES for sustainable farming
  • In total, 16 partners from Spain, Norway, Italy, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark and the Netherlands are participating in HarvRESt
  • The project will run for three years and has a total budget of € 4 998 685
  • The project is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them
  • Follow the project on LinkedIn and X. Soon more information will also be available on the project website, which is currently under development.

For further inquiries, please contact:

Roberto Lázaro Gastón from CIRCE
HarvRESt Project Coordinator & Technical Leader
Phone: +34 650 683 963