Farmers given chance to learn about renewables

Scottish farmers with an interest in renewable technology are being urged to attend the third on-farm demo day organised by NFU Scotland’s Renewable Development Initiative (RDI).

The event, being hosted by two farms in the Newton Stewart area on Wednesday, February 26, will look at anaerobic digestion, wind and solar energy generation with all farmers invited to come and see for themselves the installed wind and solar projects in action and the AD plant which is under construction.

The technology on show in the morning at East Knockbrex, courtesy of Iain Service, will look at the integration of an anaerobic digestion plant into a new dairy set-up, while in the afternoon delegates will visit Gledhill, near Borgue, to see wind and solar projects installed by Rupert Shaw.

In between site visits, there will be workshops on all aspects of renewables, including support and tariffs and an opportunity to meet with industry experts.

Speaking ahead of the RDI’s third event, NFU Scotland’s regional co-ordination manager Lisa Roberts said: “With the launch of the Scottish government’s agri-renewables strategy this week, this is a hugely exciting time for renewables, and farmers and land managers are at the centre of that.

“If Scotland is to achieve its full energy generating potential, it is essential that we share and learn from each other’s experiences.

“The RDI was established with the support of Scottish government funding and through events such as these and the case studies on our website, the initiative is providing sound independent advice to farmers and land managers across Scotland on renewable energy.

“There is no better way to showcase the technology than by showing it under construction and in action on Scottish farms, and we encourage farmers to come along and see what Iain and Rupert have done on their farms.”

Host farmer Iain Service said: “When we were planning our new dairy we thought it made a lot of sense to utilise the slurry in holistic approach which improves the fertiliser quality, reduces smells and also generates electricity and heat. Although AD is not a new technology, there are not many plants within Scotland and the technical knowledge has been hard to find.

“In my case it took me some time to find a technology provider I had confidence in. It has taken four years to get our plans for anaerobic digestion to this stage. However, by sharing my story with other farmers, those interested in AD will get an idea of the work involved and hopefully get projects progressed in a faster timeframe.”

Rupert Shaw already has wind and solar installations up and running at Gledpark. He added: “For wind generation, I chose the turbine first, and then the installer. Reliability is important to me. I felt it was important to research all the turbines which were on the market, understand how each one worked and make sure I chose a turbine size that met my needs.

“The second task was to review the different companies I could place the order with and negotiate the best installation price. Having had the projects in the ground for over a year, I now have 12 months of real data to share with other farmers.”