Renewable Energy

Farm Scale Renewable Energy GuideWhy should farmers invest in renewable energy?

The Scottish Government launched it's Agri-renewables Strategy in 2014 setting out its vision for the agri-renewables sector and highlighting the contribution it can make to achieving a Cleaner, Greener Scotland.

Renewable energy can be an excellent choice for farmers seeking a diversification opportunity. Investment in renewable energy usually makes use of on-farm resources – from slurry to woodlands, and wind to rivers. There is an opportunity to generate a sustainable income for up to 20 years, often without the need to divert any land from growing food crops or to even deal with waste or produce a useful by-product.

At the present time there are two schemes available that make renewable energy an attractive investment, the Feed-in Tariff scheme for renewable electricity and the Renewable Heat Incentive for renewable heat. Both schemes make a payment for every unit of energy generated, and the payments are for twenty years.

As well as the income from these schemes, renewable projects benefit businesses as the energy generated can be used to reduce electricity and heating bills on farm, or it can be sold.

For a guide to renewable energy options please follow the link:

What are your objectives for considering renewable energy?

Each renewable energy technology has different characteristics, which will influence whether or not it is suitable for your farm. You need to carefully consider what your objectives are and what you want out of a renewable energy installation. The following factors are important to consider before deciding which renewable energy technology option(s) you wish to investigate:

  • How much capital do you have access to for investment?
  • What is the scale and pattern of your energy demand?
  • What resources do you have available on your farm?
  • How much risk are you willing to take?
  • How important is it to you to purchase locally?

Which renewable energy technologies are suitable for farms?

The renewable energy technologies which are most relevant to farms are:

Need some independent advice?

SAC Consulting can also provide independent renewable energy advice and act as an initial sounding board for renewable energy ideas. This means that businesses can get feedback about their ideas before committing to consultancy services such as feasibility studies. This service is part funded by the Scottish Government’s Veterinary and Advisory Services Programme.

For free, initial telephone advice on your ideas, please contact the Renewable Energy Team:


Telephone: 0131 603 7500

The Rural Development Initiative has been developed by the National Farmers Union Scotland with funding from the Scottish Government and is facilitated by Smiths Gore. It also provides information on renewable energy opportunities and organise visits to farms who have or are installing renewable energy schemes (e.g. biomass, wind, solar photovoltaics, hydro power and anaerobic digestion). These visits provide opportunities for those considering renewable energy to hear first hand about the challenges, solutions and benefits of on-farm renewable energy installation that can help in the decision making process.

For further information please contact Rebecca Bell of Smiths Gore on 0131 344 0888.