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November 30, 2011

Urban communities keen to cash in too

Although community owned wind turbines aren’t quite commonplace, there’s no doubt that the numbers are growing. Not surprisingly most of these are in the more remote parts of the country. For obvious reasons urban communities have found it especially difficult to find suitable sites.  Recently, two communities in the north of Edinburgh have joined forces and think they may have found one. They’re in the running for some vital development funding and your vote could make all the difference

Portobello & Leith Community Wind Energy Project

Portobello & Leith Community Wind Energy Project

We need you to vote for us. It really doesn’t take long and we are so close to winning. Please vote here

PEDAL, in partnership with neighbouring Greener Leith, is proposing to develop a commercial scale wind turbine on land at Seafield WasteWater Treatment Works, Seafield Road, to generate electricity for sale to landowners Scottish Water or export to the National Grid. If successful, this will be the first community owned income generating wind turbine in a UK city. Depending on the size of the turbine, it could save between 400 and 2000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent each year, powering between 300 and 1300 homes. In June 2011 we had a feasibility study completed that shows the site is indeed a good one for this type of facility.

Initial feasibility work is now complete. The results show that our chosen site may be the best location in Edinburgh for a large wind turbine. We have also completed 3 months’ wind resource monitoring, a full noise imapct assessment and 6 months of bird surveys.

We are also negotiating legal agreements with the site owner, Scottish Water, and the operator, Stirling Water, to enable the project to be hosted at the Seafield site. We anticipate these will be concluded soon.

Now we’re looking for funds to carry out further studies (for example further bird studies, more wind monitoring, and landscape studies) and submit planning and grid connection applications. We have applied to Energyshare for funding to cover part of the costs of this work (the rest is being funded through a loan from the Scottish Government) plus a grid deposit, site investigations (boreholes) and design of turbine foundations. 

We are so glad to have made it into the final shortlist of 19 projects – out of almost 1000 across the UK that signed up to the Energyshare launch fund. We’d really like as many folk as possible to show their support by voting for us (we’re in the medium size project category) between 15th November and 3rd December. Remember you only get one vote per project category!

We need you to vote for us. It really doesn’t take long and we are so close to winning. Please vote here

Our Vision and Aims

In 2010, two community-led not-for-private-profit groups, PEDAL (Portobello Transition Town) and Greener Leith, started working together to explore the feasibility of a wind turbine on land at Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works, Marine Esplanade, Edinburgh. If we are successful, this will be the first community-owned large scale wind project in a UK city.

The aims of the project are to:

– Generate enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of 300-1300 homes each year;

– Reduce CO2 equivalent emmissions from electricity generation by between 400 and 2000 tonnes per year (dependent on actual wind resource and capacity of turbine installed) over the lifetime of the installation (25 years);

– Generate an independent income stream that will be distributed to local not-for-private-profit groups for projects focussed on sustainable development. The funds will be disbursed on an open, transparent and inclusive basis.

– Increase local awareness of issues relating to energy and the potential for generating clean energy using local renewable resources, and provide learning and inspiration for other communities to undertake similar projects;

– Enable school pupils to learn more about sustainable energy by using the wind turbine as a teaching tool within the curriculum. We have strong links with local primary and secondary schools.

Portobello & Leith Community Wind Energy Project has the potential to make a big difference to carbon emissions, generate funding for local sustainable development projects, and provide education and inspiration to many others around energy issues right on the coast of Scotland’s capital city!

We have just updated our Frequently Asked Questions that tell you more about what stage the project is at. The FAQs are available on the Pedal and Greener Leith websites:

Please vote for us!!