Wind energy benefits for once in a generation opportunity

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The Stornoway Trust recently hosted a meeting to discuss the latest developments with the Stornoway Wind Farm application, with a particular focus on the community fund, which could result if the Stornoway Wind Farm is consented.

Nearly 40 guests attended to hear presentations from the developer as well as Development Trusts Association Scotland and the Shetland Charitable Trust on the potential of the community fund.

Experts from these organisations gave insights and learning from examples of other charitable trusts established by local communities to manage the income from the construction and operation of wind farms in other parts of the country.

The Stornoway Trust is presently working with local stakeholders to develop plans for the use of the income they will receive from the operation of the Stornoway Wind Farm.

Jeff Goddard, Financial Controller at the Shetland Charitable Trust said: “The Shetland Charitable Trust demonstrates how an island community can benefit from external investment, in our case from the oil & gas industry. The Shetland Charitable Trust has injected millions of pounds into Shetland, directly aiding our economic development through social and commercial ventures.

“Our Trustees, as members of the Shetland community, have direct control over how the money is spent. This is an exciting time for the Stornoway community with a once in the generation opportunity to reap the benefits associated to the Stornoway Wind Farm project.”

Alex Walker, Chairman, Development Trust Association Scotland added: “The Stornoway community has an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the possibilities presented by the development of renewable energy on Lewis. A clear vision and clear set of priorities is required by the Community Trust as well as strong leadership and support from the community. Given that the right structures are put in place with involvement of those around the table, the benefits from the Stornoway Wind Farm can be realised and community priorities delivered.”

Charlie Nicolson, Chair of the Stornoway Trust concluded: “The meeting was a great success and I would like to convey our thanks to our very knowledgeable speakers who have given us much food for thought. This is the start of the process as we develop plans for the Community Trust and I hope that many of those stakeholders present at the meeting will continue their involvement with the project.”