August 24, 2016
Sustainable future in sight
We may look back on this era of transition towards a low carbon future and wonder whether we should have done more to democratise our energy system and transform the way energy is owned and distributed. For almost a decade Community Energy Scotland has championed this ideal, supporting community scale development and advocating a new model of local energy economies. In order to do this work they’ve needed to generate sustainable income for themselves. It’s been a long hard struggle but they’ve finally cracked it.
Scotland’s first wind farm to be developed through a partnership between two charities has taken a big turn forward with the conclusion of its financing package and completion of turbine foundations.
The Hoprigshiels wind farm project – comprising three x 2.5-MW Nordex wind turbines – is located in Berwickshire. Completion and commissioning is expected towards the end of this year.
The two charities involved, Berwickshire Housing Association and Community Energy Scotland, are taking the project forward through a joint venture company, Berwickshire Community Renewables.
The windfarm will supply electricity to the National Grid over a 25-year period and the revenues from the sale of power will help support the charities’ social purposes.
Helen Forsyth, Chief Executive, Berwickshire Housing Association, said “We are absolutely delighted that we have been able to see the construction of the wind farm start on site at Hoprigshiels.
“The revenue generated by the wind farm will enable us to build around 20 homes a year for the next 25 years – about 500 in total. Working with an experienced community wind farm developer like Community Energy Scotland has been a great experience for us and we couldn’t have done this without them.”
Nicholas Gubbins, Chief Executive, Community Energy Scotland, added: “Having helped many community groups install their own renewable energy projects over the past eight years, it’s fantastic that we now have our own project underway – and it’s even better that we have done this in partnership with another like-minded charity.”
The project is being financed by Triodos Bank and the Scottish Investment Bank’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund.