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Renewable energy community group leading the way
East Kintyre Renewable Energy Group (EKREG) is leading the way in Scotland to enable community councils to work in partnership and deliver joint shared ownership in consented renewable energy projects.
Kintyre has multiple consented wind farms with many more in the scoping and planning pipeline. The majority of the developments impact on more than one community council area – not just in Kintyre but throughout Scotland – and therefore there is a strong need for the communities to work together with a single voice, to maximise the local community benefit from approved projects.
An EKREG spokesperson said: ‘In the absence of subsidies, windfarm developments are becoming taller and larger in order to be economically viable. The knock-on effect is that a wider geographic area is often impacted by individual developments, meaning that if the developer offers community shared ownership (CSO) in a consented windfarm it is often to several impacted community councils.’
With this in mind, EKREG set about establishing new model rules for an Equal Shares Community Benefit Society that would enshrine equal shares to the communities involved; effectively guaranteeing the required split in surplus funds between the community councils’ charities.
‘This is important in securing buy-in from the different community councils for involvement in the CSO,’ the spokesperson said. ‘Developers tend to have no mechanism for dealing with “conflicted communities”, i.e. disagreements between the different community councils as to who gets what, and will let the CSO offer lapse – to the detriment of all the communities – rather than involve themselves in such conflict.’
EKREG researched the best way for communities to partner together and then produced a new set of multi-community shared ownership in a renewable energy project model rules for a community benefit society.
The spokesperson said: ‘The Scottish Government continues to view successful renewable energy projects as those that treat communities as active and positive partners. Shared ownership of consented renewable energy projects can help promote stronger relationships between local communities and the renewables sector, and deliver lasting economic and social benefits to communities.’
EKREG has recently been successful in having their new set of model rules – designed to support local communities in achieving shared ownership of renewable energy projects and thereby furthering community development, education and regeneration within the participating community council areas – approved and registered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The group hopes its new set of rules will be adopted by other community groups who seek to work together to invest in shared ownership of consented renewable energy developments to generate the benefits outlined.
EKREG thanks Local Energy Scotland and The Energy Savings Trust for a grant that enabled the group to finance the registration of its new rules.
For more information, visit https://www.eastkintyre.org/ekreg-ltd.php
The Kintyre Way launches new campaign
The Kintyre Way team has launched a new campaign designed to encourage more locals and visitors to walk sections or all of the 100-mile route from Tarbert to Machrihanish.
It is also hoped the initiative will boost tourism business in the region.
The Kintyre Way was launched in 2006 and meanders down the length of the Kintyre peninsula. The trail, which is way-marked and also has distance markers at one-mile intervals, stretches for 100 miles and usually takes around four to seven days to walk.
A spokesperson said: ‘Up until now The Kintyre Way has been one of Scotland’s best kept secrets. It’s a truly beautiful trail with vistas that can be breath-taking in all four seasons.
‘With our new programme now established for 2020 2021, we’re confident The Kintyre Way will become known as a top destination for visitors from all over the world.
‘The events we’ve planned for the coming months are designed to appeal to all ages and we’ll be gradually unveiling the full calendar over the coming weeks.
‘Many elements are virtual so we can still enjoy the Way even during potential Covid restrictions or the extremes of the Scottish weather!’
The first online publication on the updated website – www.thekintyreway.com – will be Your Guide To Walking The Way In Autumn, with advice to get the most from the route at this time of year, including top tips on what flora and fauna you should look out for.
The spokesperson added: ‘With this new campaign we really do hope The Kintyre Way will become a focus for lots of outdoor fun and fitness, as well as of direct financial benefit to local businesses.’