July 30, 2008
First urban based community owned windfarm gets green light
Most windfarm developments in this country are privately owned and operated. Community owned windfarms are few and far between and for obvious reasons, urban based windfarms are virtually unheard of. A new community trust jointly owned by two very different communities – Castlemilk and Carmunnock – is about to go into partnership with Glasgow City Council to build the UK’s first
Local people in Castlemilk have come together to form the Castlemilk and Carmunnock Commuity Windpark Trust, with the aim of developing the UK’s first urban community-owned wind generation system. The scheme has been years in the planning, but looks on the verge of success, with announcement that Glasgow City Council plan to go into partnership with the community group to build the UK’s first council-run wind farm on the same site.
While the Scottish and Southern Energy project will be run like any other power-station – a massive centralised energy generation unit, with little benefit to the community, a community owned wind farm would operate very differently.
If local people take the lead in determining where the windfarm is located, how large it will be and what it will look like, much of the opposition to new developments would probably disappear.
Instead of very large schemes that suit the needs of the power companies, we could expect to see a range of small locally appropriate schemes spread out across the country.
This could be a major opportunity for the voluntary sector, and it could also be a major opportunity to challenge the root causes of poverty that the political journalists have been emphasising so heavy-handedly in Glasgow.
The Scottish and Southern project will cost over half a billion pounds, but will create nearly thirty new jobs. Community owned and managed windfarms would seek to maximise the economic benefit going back to the community not just in terms of revenue from selling electricity, but also in terms of jobs created.
So rather than the politician elected in east Glasgow, it could be wind farm erected in south Glasgow that makes the real difference to the people and communities of Scotland.