April 5, 2017
Wynken, Blynken and Nod
Love them or loathe them, wind turbines have become an increasingly ubiquitous feature of Scotland’s landscape. While they all contribute towards the country’s transition to a low carbon economy, the backstory to each windfarm remains unknown to the casual observer – and they’re all very different. For instance, any windfarm that calls its three turbines Wynken, Blynken and Nod, plans to pay over £1 million to the local community, uses all its profits to build 500 new social homes and to support communities in developing their own energy projects sounds like one worth knowing about.
Community Energy Scotland and Berwickshire Housing Association welcomed Paul Wheelhouse MSP to officially launch their joint venture windfarm, now known as the Fishermen Three.
The opening ceremony at Hoprigshiels near Cockburnspath in the Scottish Borders also saw the three turbines given affectionate names – Wynken, Blynken, and Nod – that reflect the local fishing heritage through the nursery rhyme by Eugene Field.
CES and BHA have come together as Berwickshire Community Renewables, whose new turbines are able to export a total of 7.5MW of clean electricity to the National grid. That is equivalent to powering 5,900 typical households.
The development is a first for a UK housing association, as BHA intends to use its share of the revenue to fund construction of new social rental homes. The estimate is 20 houses a year over the 25-year project lifetime.
CES will use its share to support its charitable work, in effect using one renewable energy installation to help other communities take similar steps.
The total estimated revenue is £30m. The direct community benefit paid to local people over the period is index-linked and set to exceed £1m. The benefit funds will be provided to Oldhamstocks Community Association and Cockburnspath & Cove Community Council, to invest or distribute within their areas.
Mr Wheelhouse, South of Scotland MSP and Scottish Government minister for Business, Innovation & Energy, welcomed The Fishermen Three’s contribution to his department’s target of 1,000MW of locally-owned renewable generation by 2020, saying: “This project shows locally-owned renewables have the potential to help drive social, economic and environmental change through investment in essential community infrastructure.”
Community Energy Scotland Chief Executive, Nicholas Gubbins, explained the multiple benefits the development will bring: “CES has helped hundreds of community groups take forward green energy projects but, like many charities, we struggle to cover our own costs. We are delighted to have worked with BHA to develop our own joint project.
“The UK energy system is changing and we want to make sure that communities are at the forefront of the opportunities that this will create for low carbon energy developments. This project helps us do that, whilst providing an initial community benefit payment of £37,500 per year to the communities closest to the wind farm site, to be spent on whatever they identify as their priorities.”