NFU Scotland’s innovative farm-based renewables project has been short-listed for a prestigious national award.

The Union’s Renewable Development Initiative (RDI), managed by Savills and supported by Scottish Government throughout its 27-month lifespan, gave more than 1,000 Scottish farmers the opportunity to see a huge range of renewable energy projects that had either been installed on farm or were at the planning stage.

Those attending RDI events got the chance to see the following technologies in action – wind, solar PV, solar thermal, biomass, air/ground source heat pumps, hydro, hydrogen, gasification, anaerobic digestion, district heating, battery storage, combined heat and power and community-owned projects.

The RDI project has been shortlisted at the Environment and Energy Awards event, being held in Birmingham on 16 May ahead of Edie Live – an energy, sustainability and resource efficiency event being held at the NEC on 17 and 18 May.

NFU Scotland Vice President Andrew McCornick said: “Industry collaboration on the RDI project has ensured that Scotland’s farmers and land managers continue to play a key role in ensuring Scotland achieves its world-leading renewable energy targets.

“On farm renewable projects are providing Scottish farming businesses with a valuable opportunity to diversify their income streams and reduce their exposure to volatile commodity prices by generating green energy.  In almost every case, they are reducing their carbon footprint, significantly cutting their own energy bills and driving forward efficiency.

“Renewable energy is not only making a huge difference to many farm businesses but is now supporting more than 11,000 jobs, many of these with smaller scale companies in remote rural areas.

“The ground-breaking RDI initiative clearly showed that the potential for on-farm take up is huge.  With its term now over, discussions are already under way on how best to move forward with a new project looking at the future of renewables with reduced or no tariffs in place; examining energy storage and efficiency and how to access any available grants and funding.

“Being short-listed for this award is tremendous recognition of the RDI’s success.”

Thomas McMillan, Director of Savills was the lead facilitator of the RDI events.  He said:  “This has been an ambitious but rewarding project and I am delighted it is being recognised.  The events have made a real difference to farmers, landowners and community groups who are looking to develop renewable energy projects.

“Independent and trustworthy advice, the cornerstone of these events, has been welcomed by participants in what is a fast moving and constantly changing sector.

“Although the initiative has come to an end, and the renewable energy market has become increasingly challenging in recent months, we continue to advise on new renewable energy opportunities across biomass CHP, solar and battery storage.”

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