Farm-Based Renewables Take Centre Stage at Major Two-Day Event

Farm-based energy generation will take centre stage when a major two-day renewables event is held in Glasgow this week.

All Energy, being staged at the SECC in Glasgow on Wednesday (6 May) and Thursday (7 May) will see NFU Scotland’s Renewable Development Initiative (RDI) play an important part in proceedings.

As well as taking stand space (stand A34), five Scottish farmers who have embraced renewable technology will participate in an open session on May 6 (in Conference Room 7 at 4.00pm), speaking about their energy schemes and inviting questions from the floor.   

The Union’s three-year RDI project is designed to provide sound, independent advice to farmers and land managers across Scotland on renewable energy.  Through a programme of on-farm events, co-ordinated by Thomas McMillan of Smiths Gore, the initiative has already shown hundreds of Scottish farmers energy projects that are contributing to farm businesses or are at the planning stage.  

On-farm days held in 2014 and 2015 looked at wind, solar, biomass, gasification, hydro, biodiesel, heat pumps and anaerobic digestion.  Workshops built around the events have brought in experts to cover elements such as planning, finance, construction, grid connection, feedstock management, legal contracts, tax and community schemes.  Further on-farm events looking at anaerobic digestion (Aberdeenshire) and wind energy (Lanarkshire) will be held later this month.

The five farmers participating in the All Energy seminar on Wednesday have all hosted RDI events.  They are: Robert Ramsay of Kinblethmont, Angus; Rupert Shaw of Gledpark Farm, Dumfries & Galloway; Jim Shanks of Standhill Farm, Scottish Borders; Andrew Stewart of Marshill Farm, Lanark and Hamish Watson of Balring Farm, Aberdeenshire

Speaking ahead of All Energy, where he will chair the RDI session, Mr McMillan said: “Farm-based renewables will be central to Scotland achieving its ground-breaking energy targets. NFU Scotland’s Renewable Development Initiative (RDI) continues to drive forward understanding around the planning, financing, building and operation of installations in the Scottish countryside.

“Since November 2013, 17 RDI events have been held on Scottish farms up and down the country, introducing several hundred farmers to renewable technologies through existing or planned projects with more events organised for May and June. The RDI has already demonstrated that the expanding range of renewable technology is offering Scottish farmers the chance to generate significant energy savings on farm and add a potential new income stream to the business.

“It has been hugely encouraging to see so many farmers, through the RDI, be prepared to open their gates to their fellow producers to allow others to see just what is involved in taking a project from planning, finance and consultation all the way through to completion and operation.  This willingness to share experience in farm-based renewables – both good and bad – will see those same farmers take centre stage at All Energy this week.”   

Notes to Editors

Forthcoming Renewables Development Initiative Events
All Energy, Glasgow, Stand A34 (6 and 7 May) We will have a stand at All Energy. Copies of the case sheets on all of the 17 open days that have taken place so far will be available at the conference.  On the 6th of May we will also be holding a 90 minute presentation session in Conference Room 7, from 16:00pm.  More info can be found here:

Anaerobic Digestion - Alastair and Magnus Sinclair, Kinknockie Farm, Ellon, Aberdeenshire (12 May) This single tank (double ring) 500kWe Biogest Anaerobic Digester is owned and operated by the Sinclair’s. The AD plant is currently fed on a mixture of slurry, rye grass silage and whole crop silage from the Sinclair’s farm and their neighbouring farm. Digestate from the plant is spread on nearby fields, helping them deal with NVZ issues. The open day will give you an opportunity to hear from Alastair and Magnus Sinclair in terms of the technology choice and the challenges they have encountered in securing grid connection and getting the plant built and operational. Specific focus will also be given to optimal grass growing and harvesting techniques employed by the Sinclair’s.

Wind - Andrew Stewart, Marshill Farm, Lanarkshire (21 May) Andrew Stewart became aware of the wind turbine development opportunity when he was approached by a wind developer but was not keen to lease the land to a developer due to the poor rates being offered. He decided to undertake the project himself and has secured planning and grid connection and is currently installing three wind turbines on the farm (one 2.3MW Enercon E-82 and two 800kW Enercon E-48). Andrew has developed the project through the CARES project as at the pre-planning stage was considered too high risk for commercial loans. This will be our second visit to Marshill Farm following an initial visit in February 2014.  This second visit will allow us to hear from Andrew and the challenges he has overcome in the 15 months from our last visit and give you the opportunity to meet the development team and see the project under construction.  Representatives from REIF and CARES will also be presenting at the event.

These are FREE to farmers and land managers to attend. If you would like to book a space or join the mailing list, please email  or telephone: 0131 344 0888.   Timetables for these events will be emailed out in due course.

More details on our Renewables Development Initiative at:


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 80/15

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