David Smith set to map out challenges

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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.

This Thursday (October 16), 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, Mr 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,” he added.