September 23, 2015
Glenfarg forced to throw in the towel
As UK energy policy swings dramatically away from green energy and full square behind the nuclear option with the construction and massive subsidy of Hinkley Point C power station, the practical implications at a community level are already beginning to be felt. It’s especially ironic that this past fortnight has been designated Community Energy Fortnight – a time to celebrate and share the achievements of communities harnessing all the renewable energy on their doorstep. It’s unlikely that there will be much enthusiasm from Glenfarg in Kinross-shire to join in all the fun.
A Kinross-shire community has been forced to abandon its money-spinning wind turbine project, which was expected to make about £2 million for groups and causes.
The scheme at Glenfarg was dealt a fatal blow following a shake-up of UK Government incentives for small-scale renewable energy developments.
The Glenfarg Renewable Energy Association, which led the bid, calculated that proposed changes to feed-in tariffs would make its venture financially unworkable.
A planning application was being drawn up for the turbine, which was earmarked for land at Jubilee Plantation to the south-west of the village.
Consultant Neil Lindsay said: “It is incredibly disappointing for everyone involved in this project.
“We have done so much work as a community over the last couple of years and it feels like we have just had the rug pulled out from under our feet.
“The project simply would not have been viable,” he said. “It is a real shame because we recently conducted a survey of local people and we found there was a significant level of support.
“If it had all gone to plan, we would have expected the turbine to generate around £80,000 a year over its 25-year life span, so it is a massive loss to the area.”
He said: “The Scottish Government has always been very supportive about these kind of projects and it would be great if there was some way they could show their support to projects like ours and stop them from dying out.”
Planned cuts to the feed-in tariff incentive payments were announced by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) last month.
It is funded through consumers’ energy bills and DECC said it now stands to exceed the levy agreed, due to high demand to install small-scale renewables.
Joss Blamire, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Community-scale renewables have allowed local people across Scotland to invest in – and reap the returns from – energy generation on their own turf.
“The fact that this week is Community Energy Fortnight, when groups across the country will be celebrating what makes their own projects great, makes the announcement that Glenfarg is not able to proceed even more disappointing.
“An ongoing review of the feed-in tariff, through which schemes like this are funded, by the UK Government is likely to see rates fall dramatically, meaning many more community-scale schemes are likely to fall by the wayside, damaging both a source of much-needed income and our climate targets.”