Western Isles council supporting Barra wind turbine development

WESTERN Isles Council has approved a £50,000 loan to Barra and Vatersay Wind Energy ltd to enable a project for the construction of a single turbine wind farm on the Isle of Barra to proceed.

This is the first time that such an award has been made to a community renewable energy company under the Comhairle’s Outer Hebrides Small Business Assistance Scheme, which is part-funded by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It is hoped that similar initiatives can be supported through the ERDF project in the future.

The project will involve the construction and operation of a single turbine wind farm with an installed capacity of 900 kW. It will create a sustainable revenue stream for community-led projects on Barra and Vatersay and will be of significant benefit to the area.

Archie Campbell, chair of the Sustainable Development Committee at the council, said: “It has long been an aim of the Comhairle’s to look at ways in which communities can invest and play a direct role in the renewables industry, and the support offered under the Small Business Assistance Scheme to this project is an example of how this can be achieved. Over the course of the last decade the Comhairle has invested some £1.1 million in micro-generation in community facilities, and we are now supporting this next stage in a community renewables development.

“The Comhairle has a vision of a diverse energy sector in which these islands can make an ‘above our weight’ contribution to a Scotland which aspires to produce 100% of electricity requirement from green energy by 2020.

“This project and others like it are essential to make that vision a reality and allow these islands to make a significant contribution towards tackling climate change and reducing greenhouse gases, while simultaneously creating significant new community income, which will facilitate new jobs and new community development.”