NFU Scotland’s Renewable Development Initiative Continues its Success to Inform Farmers

Union initiative gearing up for next phase

NFU Scotland’s Renewable Development Initiative (RDI) has continued to be a success over the last six months with more than 300 people benefiting since October 2014.

The three-year project is designed to assist with the creation and provision of sound, independent advice to farmers and land managers across Scotland on renewable energy.

Since November 2013, 17 events have been held on Scottish farms up and down the country, introducing several hundred farmers to renewable technologies through existing or planned projects.  Workshops built around the events have brought in experts to cover elements such as grid connection, planning, finance, construction, and community schemes.

Smiths Gore was appointed as independent consultant and facilitator for events, for which funding was secured through the Scottish Rural Development Programme Skills Development Scheme.

Farm visits have covered a variety of renewables topics, including wind energy, solar, anaerobic digestion, gasification, hydro, biomass and biodiesel.

The 2014 highlights included a visit to the first fully, co-operatively-funded wind turbine in Scotland, sited near Dingwall as well as the chance to view one of the first wood gasification systems in the UK on farm in Aberdeenshire.

The RDI now moves into its next phase where it aims, over its three year period, to continue to cover common and emerging technologies and stage up to 27 farm visits, allowing farmers to share knowledge and understand best practice through demonstrations and workshops.

The next events have been planned for 12 May, which will focus on anaerobic digestion, and 21 May, focussed on large scale wind development.

NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie commented: “An expanding range of renewable technology is offering Scottish farmers the chance to generate significant energy savings on farm and add potential new income stream to the business.

“I commend all those farmers who, through the RDI, have opened their gates to their fellow producers 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 the uptake of the technology move to another level.”

 “For those who would like more information, or speak to RDI host farmers, NFU Scotland will be at the All Energy Event at the SECC on May 6 and 7.

“These events are a key mechanism for delivering this information and I would encourage anyone who is interested in renewables yet hasn’t been to an RDI event to get involved.”

Thomas McMillan, lead facilitator of the RDI and head of renewables at Smiths Gore in Scotland and North England commented: “I am very pleased with the feedback we have had from our recent events, we have increasingly focused on the challenges many projects face with grid connection and have looked to focus on this at recent events to stay up to speed with a fast moving market.”

Notes to Editors

  • For more information about the RDI and case studies of each farm please visit our website:
  • Members who would like to book a space at the RDI events on May 12 or May 21 should call Rebecca on 0131 344 0888 or email:


Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108

Date Published:

News Article No.: 50/15

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