Renewables Project Take its Time

Second visit to Dumfries and Galloway anaerobic digestion plant to highlight potential for timetable disruption

For those considering renewables projects, sticking to realistic timetable can be a challenge.

Next week (Tuesday, 2 December), all farmers are invited to view the anaerobic digestion (AD) plant that has been integrated into a new dairy unit at East Knockbrex Farm near Newton Stewart.

This will be the second Renewable Development Initiative visit to see the unit being established by Iain Service.  Since the last visit in February 2014, most of the 600 head of dairy cows are now in place at the farm and the 150kW AD plant is operational having been energised in October 2014.  

As with all AD plants, there have been teething problems and this open day will give attendees an opportunity to see a system in the early stages of operation.  The team involved will be on site to walk farmers through the process and discuss the initial issues that the plant has had.  

For the host, Mr Service, there have been a number of challenges to getting this project pre-accredited, operational and connected to the grid which will be discussed on the day.

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 are at the planning stage.  RDI on-farm open days held across Scotland have looked at wind, solar, biomass, gas, hydro and anaerobic digestion.

Speaking ahead of the event, Mr Service said:
“When we were planning our new dairy, we thought it made a lot of sense to utilise the slurry in a holistic approach which improves the fertiliser quality, reduces smells and also generates electricity and heat.   Although AD is not a new technology, there were few plants within Scotland and the technical knowledge was hard to find.  

“In my case, it took me some time to find a technology provider I had confidence in.  It has taken more than 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.

“Although you are always better to have a firm deadline to get the project completed, realistic timescales are also important.  If you are told that it will only take a year to complete the project, it will probably take at least two.  My project has not moved forward as fast as it should have done but we are there now and others are invited to learn from my experience.”  

Notes to Editors

  • The anaerobic digestion open day will take place at East Knockbrex Farm, Newton Stewart, DG8 6QE on Tuesday, 2 December 2014 meeting at 10.30am for 11.00am start.  The morning session will include the following: Tour of AD plant and presentations from the farmer, the installer, digestate application experts and energy crops experts.
  • A photograph of Mr Service is available on request from
  • To book your place and your lunch for this free event please contact Rebecca Bell on 0131 344 0888 or email –  by Friday 28th November.
  • 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:

    KNOCKBAIN FARM, DINGWALL (10 DECEMBER) This 250kW wind turbine is the first 100% co-operatively owned wind development in Scotland and a fine example of the alternative funding structures that are available for communities, farmers and land managers. The Co-op was launched in September 2013 and the turbine was commissioned on the 16th June 2014.  There are 179 members of the co-op some of whom will be available on the open day to discuss the project along with the Lockett family who own the development site.  The open day will focus on all key aspects of the development including planning and grid connection although specific focus will be given to the co-op funding model used and the SEIS and EIS opportunities available for other renewable energy projects. This event is FREE to farmers and land managers to attend. If you would like to book a space call Rebecca on 0131 344 0888 or email: or to join the mailing list please email  


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 176/14

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