Uist wind development is shortlisted for renewable energy award

editorial image

UistWind, the community wind farm currently under construction on the Isle of North Uist, has been shortlisted for a renewable energy award.

The project is shortlisted for Best Community Energy Project in the Highlands and Islands Renewable Energy Awards 2019, being held at the Kingsmill Hotel in Inverness tomorrow night (Thursday, April 25).

UistWind is a project brought forward by the North Uist Development Company (Trading), to build two 900kW turbines at Criongrabhal, near Clachan-na-Luib, and work is now underway on site following a fundraising campaign which raised £452,850 – more than £100,000 more than the community needed to raise as its equity stake in the project.

The wind farm is due to be operational by October this year and aims to generate more than £105,000 a year – or £2.33million over the project’s lifetime of 22 years – with the profits going straight back to the community via North Uist Development Company’s charitable activities.

The Highlands and Islands Renewables Awards are being held for the first time this year and are hosted in association with Harper Macleod LLP.

They aim to celebrate “the very best of the renewable energy sector in the Highlands and Islands”, showcasing achievement in a range of categories while also recognising the contribution that energy makes to the Highlands and Islands economy.

For the Best Community Energy Project, the judges were looking for a community project which has “led the way”, making a significant contribution to the local economy and spreading confidence and practical results through its community.

Criteria included having reached financial close within the last 24 months and having empowered its community.

Judges also wanted to see how projects had overcome any barriers they faced.

Dr Ameena Camps, Project Delivery Manager with North Uist Development Company, will be representing the project at the awards tomorrow night.

She said: “The Directors and everyone involved in the development of UistWind are delighted to be shortlisted for this award.

“This project really is an example of triumphing over adversity, with numerous obstacles overcome during the many years of development and, once the project is operational, it will be generating significant benefits to the North Uist community.

“Thanks goes to all who have helped in the success of this renewable energy project and wish us luck for the award ceremony.”

UistWind is a £3.5million project being financed mainly by Triodos Bank UK, the ethical bank with specialist experience in financing community renewable energy projects, with a secondary loan from the Energy Investment Fund (‘EIF’), a Scottish Government Fund managed and delivered by the Scottish Investment Bank. More than 240 investors contributed to the community fundraiser – the vast majority by buying shares.

The project will be capitalising on one of the last Feed-In Tariffs and is also thought to be the last Outer Hebrides renewables project that will be able to take up space on the current cable to the mainland, before it is full to capacity and an interconnector is needed.

There are 10 categories in the Highlands and Islands Renewable Energy Awards, which also include: Best Renewable Energy Project; Best Supply Chain / Service Company; Best Marine Operator Supporting or Supplying Offshore Renewables; Best Public Sector Collaboration; Best Exporter; Best Trainee / Apprentice; Best Smart Energy / Carbon Reduction Project; Best Energy Efficiency in House Design or Build; and Outstanding Achievement Award.