GLASGOW will this week play host to All-Energy, the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference – where a key topic will be making the most of farmscale renewables in the wake of a slew of Government subsidy cuts.

As well as the usual huge exhibition of the latest devices and services, this year’s event, being held at the city's SEC on May 2 and 3, includes a 90-minute free-to-attend conference session specifically designed for farmers and landowners.

“Naturally many exhibitors will be looking forward to meeting these important groups of individuals, and this year, as a special introduction, there is a ‘by invitation’ ‘Meet the Farmers’ networking reception for farmers, and other relevant visitors and exhibitors,” explained event director Jonathan Heastie. “This follows the dedicated farming/landowners conference session, with its theme ‘Energy - New approaches to enhancing income streams’ starting at 11:00 on Thursday 3 May.

“The All-Energy team knows that farmers are always looking to innovate, especially now with potential risks to subsidies through Brexit, so their conference session this year will focus on solutions including heat pumps, woodfuel, solar, energy storage and hydrogen that would have seemed unusual just a handful of years ago when it was wind, wind and more wind, plus perhaps some bioenergy and solar. We look forward to welcoming the farming/ landowning community to the exhibition, conference, and lunch, and to their feedback”

Chaired by Jim Campbell, team leader and project manager at SAC Consulting, the session will see his colleague John Farquhar, senior renewables consultant at SAC first up to explore ‘Enhancing income streams from renewables’; next will be Neil Harrison, director of re:heat, speaking about the woodfuel supply chain, including the economics and increasing ‘knot’ of regulations about what defines sustainable wood for RHI-type boilers.

From wood to solar – ‘Making use of that south-facing unproductive field’ comes next, with Andrew Dempster, business development manager at Forster Energy focussing, naturally, on solar. Sonya Bedford, head of energy at Stevens Scown LLP will then speak about ‘Energy storage for landowners’, something very much of topical interest.

David Smith, managing director, Cloffrickford Renewable Energy and Skelmonae Windfarm Ltd is an advocate of renewables. After operating wind turbines for nine years and being involved in a recent venture where the Formartine Partnership was given a 20% share in an additional turbine site, his attention has now turned to hydrogen.

“I feel hydrogen has great potential on several fronts for the rural community,” he explained. “Indeed, I have been studying the potential production of hydrogen and ammonium nitrate for at least eight years. Aberdeen City has asked us to supply them with hydrogen for their bus fleet. It’s something we have been working on; our solution has now gone out to tender, and we have submitted an application.”

The panel discussion which involves the audience at the end of the session, includes Keith McWhinnie, lead policy official on Agricultural Climate Change at the Scottish Government.

The large exhibition, with some 300 exhibiting companies, provides good hunting ground for farmers and landowners eager to talk directly with manufacturers, or their agents; and once again, there are dedicated sector-specific trails to follow to make hunting out the right supplier from onshore wind to energy storage, solar to run-of-river hydro; heating to energy efficiency easy for visitors.