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August 3, 2010

Power on the Promenade

Wind turbines. Love them or loathe them, the common perception is that they sit atop hills in remote rural locations and, when the wind blows, they generate both clean energy and lots of cash for their owners.   For obvious reasons (principally a lack of space) urban communities have been missing out on this modern day ‘gold rush’.  But one group in Edinburgh is determined to find a way of capturing the benefits of wind power for their community

An Edinburgh community’s plans to produce and sell its own green electricity have taken a step forward with the announcement of a £72,000 funding award.

The grant award from the Scottish Government’s Communities and Renewable Energy Scotland scheme is to pay for legal and planning costs in establishing a community owned wind turbine on Portobello’s famous Promenade.

The seafront power plan, which would see the creation of the first commercial-scale community power project in any Scottish city – is being run by PEDAL –> Portobello Transition Town, a community group which seeks to promote local action on climate change by working with people in Portobello to develop environmentally-friendly goods and services.

When operational, the Seafield turbine will generate electricity for homes and businesses in the east of Edinburgh.

Jane Lewis, Chair of PEDAL, said:

“We are thrilled that the crucial next stage in this exciting project has received funding. Our initial investigations suggest that a wind turbine here could generate plenty of clean energy. However, there’s still a long way to go before the turbine goes up, and we will be consulting widely with the local community later in the year.”

Tom Black, Project Manager with PEDAL, said:

“If it does go ahead, it could bring real benefits by reducing carbon emissions, bringing in money that would be made available for local projects, and raising awareness of the renewable energy resources that Edinburgh has on it’s doorstep.”

Today’s award will enable PEDAL to carry out a range of technical studies and seek planning permission, plus legal agreements with landowners.

The grant comes from the Communities and Renewable Energy Scotland (CARES) scheme, which is administered by national charity Community Energy Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government. The CARES scheme offers grants and technical advice to community organisations to help with the installation of a variety of renewable energy technologies.

The turbine being considered would be 47.5 metres from the base to the tip of the blade. If planning permission is granted, PEDAL would be looking for a bank loan to meet the £470,000 costs involved in buying and constructing the turbine.

For more information, contact Tom Black, Project Manager, PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town at or on 0131 258 4483 or 07584 323 850.