The Sustainability and Renewable Energy (SRE) team has won a tender to provide facilitation for a project known as the Renewable Development Initiative (RDI), which has been developed by the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) with funding from the Scottish Government.
The RDI has been established with the aim of providing sound independent advice to farmers and land managers across Scotland on renewable energy. Smiths Gore’s role is that of project facilitator; to run the project and to facilitate open farm meetings and discussions.
This innovative initiative will run over three years and aims to follow the development of renewable energy installations at a total of 15 farms across Scotland. These installations will be located across three separate regions (north, central and south) and various renewable energy technologies will be studied, including biomass, wind, solar photovoltaics, hydro power and anaerobic digestion.
The selected projects will demonstrate the challenges faced and solutions adopted at various stages of a scheme’s life – from planning, to construction, to operation. The projects will also provide an insight into how renewable energy can provide valuable additional income to an agricultural business. As part of regular farm open days there will be informative presentations and workshops with farmers that have first-hand experience of renewables, as well as with industry experts.
The first farm open day was held in the north region on the 4th of November 2013 and featured two farms: one which has two operational biomass boiler installations for grain and wood chip drying, with a third under construction; and a second farm where an 800kW wind turbine development has recently gained planning approval and grid connection and is awaiting construction.
The next two open farm events on the calendar are planned for early 2014; one in the central region near Lanark on the 19th of February which will look at wind and biomass, and one in the southern region new Newton Stewart on the 26th of February examining wind, solar photovoltaics and anaerobic digestion.