December 3, 2014
No need to be near
When a community undertakes to develop a renewable energy project, it’s generally assumed that the project should be physically close to where the community is located. While this logic makes sense when the community is also the landowner, it is much less clear why proximity should be such a factor if the community is simply negotiating with a landowner to lease some land for their project. Two urban communities are collaborating on a project which, if they can pull it off, may well blaze the trail that others follow.
A community-owned renewable energy project has reached a crucial milestone with the submission of detailed planning application to Highland council.
The project, which has been jointly developed by two Edinburgh-based community organisations, aims to generate clean, renewable energy, contributing to Scottish Government efforts to tackle climate change.
The two wind turbines at the heart of the project will also generate a financial return that will be shared between local community organisations near the project and the non-profit groups that developed the initiative, Greener Leith and PEDAL Portobello.
Charlotte Encombe, Greener Leith Chair said: “Volunteers from both Greener Leith and PEDAL Portobello have invested hundreds of volunteer hours to get the project to this stage, fundraising, managing contractors and meeting with local community groups.
“All the environmental studies on the site show that our community-owned wind project will have little impact on the surrounding area, and unlike most commercial energy developments, this project will provide a significant financial return to support community-led initiatives in the local area as well as in Leith and Portobello.”
The project is currently 95% owned by two Edinburgh-based community groups Greener Leith and PEDAL Portobello. A number of community organisations local to the project have already been approached by volunteers from the project, and offered the opportunity to invest in the project.
Eva Schonveld, PEDAL Portobello Chair said: “Whilst community groups close to the project are already guaranteed to receive annual community benefit payments from the project, we are also able to offer non-profit organisations in the local area the opportunity to invest in the project directly too.”
“All over Scotland, renewable energy projects like this are generating resources for community groups that can help them revitalise their areas, whilst simultaneously tackling climate change and UK dependence on fossil fuels from foreign countries.
“We’re really excited about reaching this important milestone in our project and keen to start playing a part in the community-owned renewable energy revolution.”
Should the project receive planning permission, construction of the wind turbines is expected to begin in 2015.