Renewable energy in action was the theme of the recent Ren Net Open Day in Baronscourt Estate.

Members of the public joined existing Ren Net members to get a unique insight into how this centuries’ old building is adopting cutting-edge renewable technology. Hosted by agent of the estate, Matt Stuart, the tour included a visit to two 20kw solar arrays, one of which is a ground mounted system, whilst the other is roof mounted. The group also got an overview of the current installation of a 150kw woodchip boiler, which is at an advanced stage, along with a visit to the estate’s woodchip facilities and the forest resource from which fuel will be obtained.

Organised by the Renewable Energy Business Network, the Ren Net Open Day was a unique opportunity to learn more about working in or diversifying into the green economy. Those in attendance included farmers, entrepreneurs and small business owners from across the northwest cross border region. The group also got the chance to network with people already working in renewable energy and learn how membership of Ren Net is benefitting businesses on both sides of the border.

After lunch, the group visited Winters Renewables, gaining a unique insight into how Dromore native, Gavin Winters has developed his Biomass technology expertise into a viable business. Gavin took the group on a tour of his farm, which includes 55 hectares of willow, planted in short rotation coppice willows and harvested every two years. Winters Renewables supplies home-grown, dried willow woodchip to local biomass boilers and the tour included a visit to a purpose built drying shed, where the willow is dried and graded. The group also got a close-up look at the Guntamatic range of biomass boilers, which Gavin specialises in supplying and installing.