Funding and Construction Challenges to Feature in on Farm Renewables Event

One of Scotland’s strongest supporters of on-farm renewables, David Smith, is to map out the funding and construction challenges faced when putting an on-farm wind energy plan into practice.
Next Thursday (16 October), farmers with an interest in renewable technology are invited to visit David Smith’s Hill of Skilmafilly Farm in Aberdeenshire to see three 800kW turbines currently under construction.

The day, staged as part of NFU Scotland’s Renewables Development Initiative (RDI), will begin in Maud Village Hall with an overview of David’s project and workshops on project management,  financing and construction before moving on to a site visit.   

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 looked at wind, solar, biomass, hydro and anaerobic digestion.

Speaking ahead of the event, David Smith said:
 “Where possible, I would encourage farmers to progress their own renewable energy schemes rather than renting the land to developers to progress the opportunity.

“To secure the necessary funding for a wind project, it is essential to have a strong proposal for the bank, demonstrating good wind speeds, low grid connection costs and an attractive payback period.

“If you have apprehensions about doing a project on your own then it is still worth considering an approach to other farmers or the local community associations and progressing the scheme under the CARES initiative as a joint venture arrangement.”

Thomas McMillan of Smiths Gore, who is facilitating the event, added:
“Any farmer who is currently looking at funding a renewable energy project would benefit greatly from attending the free event, not only in terms of hearing David’s story, but also because of the networking opportunities with industry experts.

“Over the course of events that have been run to date, funding of projects has been a key discussion point and this open day will address many of the common questions that investors in renewables have.” 

Notes to Editors

  • The NFU Scotland Renewable Development Initiative Open day on Thursday, 16 October will be held in Maud Village Hall, Maud, Aberdeenshire, starting at 10am.  It will feature workshops on project management, financing and construction and include a site visit to Hill of Skilmafilly. This is a free event for 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.
  • A photograph of Mr Smith is available on request from
  • David Smith first started developing wind turbines in 2005. He initially focussed on his neighbour’s farm at Skatmonae where he installed four 800kW turbines in December 2009, the same year he applied for an extension to this scheme on to the Hill of Skilmafilly. Planning and finance took five years to secure for the project. He started putting up the three E70 2.3 MW turbines in September 2014. A case study detailing the renewable projects installed by Mr Smith is also available 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 Initiative website can be visited at
  • Other RDI events scheduled include:

    12 November - Biomass & Gasification - Hamish Watson, Balring, Mintlaw, Peterhead 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.

    13 November - Biomass, Wind, Solar PV - Alastair Laing, Logie Estate, Forres 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.

    These 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.


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