Busy Renewables Year Continues With Double Header Next Week

Wide range of tech on show at Mintlaw and Forres farms

Scotland’s Renewables Development Initiative (RDI) will build on a busy year of on-farm events with a double header in Aberdeenshire and Moray next week.

On Wednesday, 12 November, Hamish Watson will invite farmers to view one of the UK’s first wood gasification systems at Balring, Mintlaw.  This will be the second time that Hamish has opened his gates to others and attendees will be able to discuss his decision to replace his biomass boiler and to operate two wood chip boilers instead.

A day later (Thursday, 13 November), the renewables focus moves to Logie Estate near Forres where the open day will feature Alastair Laing’s woodchip fuelled district heating scheme built at Logie Steading as well as looking at two wind projects - one entirely self-funded, the other a joint venture.

The RDI, co-ordinated by Thomas McMillan of Smiths Gore, is helping Scottish farmers and land managers fulfil their energy generating potential.  Through a programme of on-farm events, the initiative has already shown hundreds of Scottish farmers energy projects that are contributing to farm businesses or at the planning stage.  RDI on-farm open days held across Scotland in 2014 have looked at wind, solar, biomass, hydro and anaerobic digestion.

Commenting ahead of his open day, Mr Watson said:

“The gasification plant is a prototype and we are excited to have got it going.  We have applied for Local Energy Challenge Funding from Local Energy Scotland to expand the operation of the gasification plant to include Combined Heat and Power (CHP) District Heating system for a new development in the village.

“Although rates for biomass have dropped, I expect costs to come down on biomass boiler installations as both competition for business and experience within the sector increase.

“The work going on at Logie Estate on a range of technologies is also very exciting and for those interested in these aspects of renewables, myself and Alastair welcome the opportunity to show you the work we have undertaken when we open our doors next week.” 

Notes to Editors

  • 12 November - Biomass & Gasification - Hamish Watson, Balring, Mintlaw, Peterhead, AB42 4JN.  This will be the second Renewable Development Initiative visit to Hamish Watson’s Balring Farm following on from the success of the first open day.  Since the event last year Hamish Watson has replaced his biomass batch boiler with a wood chip boiler.  He now has two wood chip boilers that work in tandem to supply heat to a number of residential properties and a drying floor. He has also installed one of the UK’s only wood gasification systems.  The day will begin at 10am with a talk by Hamish on how the projects have helped his farm and then there will be presentations and workshops from those involved with the biomass system, the drying floors and gasification system.
  • 13 November - Biomass, Wind, Solar PV - Alastair Laing, Logie Estate, Forres, IV36 2QN Alastair Laing will be hosting the first Renewable Development Initiative event in Moray.  The open day will feature his woodchip fuelled district heating scheme built at Logie Steading as well as looking at two wind projects - one an entirely self-funded 50kW turbine, the other a Joint Venture with a wind developer on a 27MW wind farm.  The day will start at 10am with a talk by Alastair Laing on why he has chosen these projects and his future plans for Logie. We will then have workshops from those involved with the wind projects as well as experts on hand to demonstrate and discuss biomass and Solar PV technology.
  • These events are free to farmers and land managers to attend. If you would like to book a space or to join the mailing list please email or call Rebecca on 0131 344 0895.  Any member of the media who would like to attend can contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108 or email:
  • Photographs of Mr Watson and Mr Laing are available on request from
  • NFU Scotland, with funding from The Scottish Executive and the European Union, has established the Renewable Development Initiative, facilitated by Thomas McMillan of Smiths Gore.
  • The Renewable Development Initiative website can be visited at


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 171/14

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