Community owned windfarm starts construction in Huntly as £2.5m fund is reached

Community owned windfarm gets go ahead as final funding boost is received

WORK will begin on a new windfarm which will be entirely owned by the local community of Huntly, after receiving a £2m support package from Clydesdale Bank.

The Greenmyres Community Wind Project, initiated in March 2014 by Huntly and District Development Trust (HDDT), will see a 500kW Enercon wind turbine erected on Greenmyres Farm.

The bank’s contribution accounts for 80 per cent of the £2.5m total, but funding was also obtaine by the Trust from Social Investment Scotland and the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Scotland CARES scheme.

“The turbine will be a valuable resource for creating clean, green energy, which the local area will benefit from economically, as we look to reinvest profits to good use within the region.” Richard Hammock

Commenting on the development, Richard Hammock, chairman of Greenmyres Renewable Energy, part of HDDT said: “The Greenmyres Community Wind Project has been in process for more than five years now, and it’s fantastic to see construction underway on the farmland the Trust recently acquired for community use.

“The turbine will be a valuable resource for creating clean, green energy, which the local area will benefit from economically, as we look to reinvest profits to good use within the region.

“The Clydesdale Bank and its project finance offering have played a key role in enabling us to undertake this community project. The team at the bank have been knowledgeable, helpful and efficient, and we would like to extend our appreciation to them for all their help in getting to this stage.”

People who live locally around Huntly will also have the chance to buy shares in the project which will be made available in the spring of next year.

The concept for the windfarm was first envisaged by HDDT after it bought the Greenmyres Farm on behalf of the local community. The farm consisting of 63 acres of grazing land, a farmhouse and linked outbuildings was purchased using a grant from the Scottish Land Fund, a Scottish Government initiative to help local communities become more sustainable through the purchase of land.

The Scottish Government’s target of generating 500 MW of energy from community and locally owned energy schemes by 2020 was surpassed five years ahead of schedule but experts involved in local community energy have expressed warning that such projects may be affect by recent UK Government policies.

The recent Local Energy Scotland report said: “Recent and significant shifts in UK Government energy policy, (most notably in relation to preaccreditation and a reduction in Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs), have resulted in greater sectoral uncertainty.

“However, we are delighted to see that this has not stifled Scottish political ambition; the SNP’s 2016 Manifesto highlighted a new aim to generate 1 gigawatt (GW) of energy from community and locally owned schemes by 2020 and 2 GW by 2030.”

Picture courtesy of Gary Goldberg

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