Point and Sandwick Development Trust have been awarded nearly £1million to take forward a nine megawatt community windfarm.
The project has now secured the £3million worth of equity required to allow due diligence with the Coop bank to continue. This is a mix of funding from the Big Lottery Fund, Social Investment Scotland and the Scottish Government CARES Renewable Energy Investment Fund. The group are aiming to reach financial close by the end of July and install the turbines in the spring of 2014. The turbines will be built just west of Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis.
Nicholas Gubbins, Community Energy Scotland’s Chief Executive welcomed the milestone. Mr Gubbins said: “This is a good day for the Community Energy movement in Scotland. The Point and Sandwick project shows that community ownership applies even to large scale projects. Lewis people are doing this for the benefit of the community in which they live. Just like the smaller pathfinder community energy projects on Gigha, Tiree and in the Orkney Islands, there has been no need to dilute the ownership with commercial partners from outside the area. These islands gain 100% of the benefits and not just a small share from a commercial developer. Every pound earned will be a pound for the Western Isles.”
The Chairman of the Point and Sandwick Development Trust (PSDT), Donald John MacSween said: “Ours will be the biggest community owned wind farm in Britain. The key thing about this development like all the community owned wind farms is that all the profit from the wind farm will go back into the community. PSDT is a community owned Trust and will use the income to invest in projects that will benefit the community not just in Point and Sandwick but elsewhere in the Western Isles as well.”
Big Lottery Fund Scotland Director, Jackie Killeen, said ‘The Big Lottery Fund is delighted to support the Point & Sandwick Development Trust as they develop this wind farm. Our Growing Community Assets funding is for exactly this kind of project where communities look at what they have and how they can take ownership of those assets to transform the lives of those who live in their local communities.’
Trust Chairman Donald John added: “I believe that community ownership is by far the best way to develop wind farms in the Western Isles. It is the best way for communities to keep control over the size and location of wind farms and also to maximise the local economic benefit. Our scheme demonstrates that even a sizable project can be done through the community model and in my view all future development on the islands should be community owned and controlled.”
More on Point and Sandwick at http://www.pointandsandwick.com/