Renewable energy can boost farm incomes and secure a source of power for the future.

Practical Measures

Consider if your farm is suitable for any of the following renewables:

  • Micro hydro electricity schemes
  • Solar panels, ground source heat pumps or wood fuel burners
  • Wind turbines
  • Growing trees, short rotation woodland and short rotation coppice as biomass fuel for home supply or sale
  • Installing an anaerobic digester to produce methane as fuel for electricity or heat

For example:

Electricity used in the dairy, ice cream production and farm shop at Stewart Tower accounted for around 130,000 kWh per year.

Conservative estimates by farmer Neil Butler, suggested that the 100 kW wind turbine would produce over 200,000 kWh electricity per year. If using half of this in the farm shop and dairy, savings on the electricity bill would be in the region of £12,000 per year.

With contributions from the feed in tariff the turbine could generate around £50,000 per year for the business whilst offsetting in the region of 120 tonnes of carbon annually, equivalent to taking around 24 cars off the road per year.

Help and Advice

Support for renewable energy is available through the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) or Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

Forestry Commission Scotland are running trials on growing woodfuel crops; see their Energy Forestry Trials web page.

For comprehensive advice on woodfuel visit the Use Woodfuel website.

Advice on renewable energy is available through the FAS helpline  For advice on renewables and to see what other farmers have done, see our range of Practical Guides, Farmer Case Studies and notes from Climate Change Focus Farm meetings.

Practical guides