Glenbarr wind farm’s £750K community windfall

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A triple turbine Glenbarr wind farm backed by a housing association will boost community projects by £750,000 a year.

Fyne Energy, a trading arm of social landlord Fyne Homes, welcomed minister for energy, connectivity and the islands Paul Wheelhouse MSP to Kintyre on Wednesday last week to officially open the 6.9-megawatt scheme.

The development by Fyne Futures at Auchadaduie, the second in Scotland led by a housing agency, was funded by £10.8m from Triodos Bank and £2.82m from the Renewable Energy Investment Fund.

It took 11 years of planning and development plus construction over the past year. I has started to produce energy which, it is estimated, will generate £15.6 million of community and charitable benefit in the next 20 years.

The project was born from the motivation that communities in Scotland could and should be able to generate income from renewables and was initiated by Fyne Homes and the Fyne Group.

The Scottish government has supported the project, one of a number of pilots to enable housing associations to develop renewable projects to generate income for reinvestment in affordable housing and community priorities.

Fyne Homes chief executive and Fyne Energy director Colin Renfrew, said: ‘The Fyne Group is delighted the three turbines are now producing energy.

‘It  will provide long-term income to enable Fyne Group and Glenbarr Community Development Association (GCDA) to reinvest in social housing and employment.’

The community benefit will be distributed equally to three community initiatives: Fyne Homes’ social housing; charitable employability and environmental priorities led by Fyne Futures and other schemes.

Glenbarr residents recently established GCDA and identified priorities for the investment.

The community investment plan includes support for developing woodlands and environmental projects and employment.

The need for investment in a community meeting space, play areas, road safety and transport provision has been highlighted.

Norrie Cruickshank, relationship manager at Triodos Bank, said: ‘Fyne Energy’s three turbines will generate income to tackle affordable housing and clean energy.

‘It’s the determination and innovative thinking of everyone at Fyne Homes that will help create a better world for us all.

‘Community renewables have already made a significant impact in west Harris, Gigha and Tiree.

‘This project will generate significant income to tackle some of the priority issues for the area, such as depopulation, through provision of affordable housing and employment.’

Mr Wheelhouse added: ‘Community benefit is a valuable source of income for communities located near renewable developments.’

From turbine one at Auchadaduie, the four dancing ladies on the Isle of Gigha stand out and it was Alan Hobbett, previously of Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust, who encouraged Fyne Homes to consider renewable developments.

MSP Paul Wheelhouse, top left, joined project officials and members of the Glenbarr community to officially open the Fyne Energy development. NO_c09windfarm01_MSP_Paul_Wheelhouse