Isle of Lewis residents look forward to renewables windfall
Residents of the Isle of Lewis can expect to bank £36m over the next 25 years thanks to Britain's largest community-owned wind farm, completed this week.
Three 3MW Enercon wind turbines have been installed at the Beinn Ghrideag site, with first energy production expected to be achieved in early summer.
Developed by Point and Sandwick Power, the wind farm will provide enough energy to power 6,000 homes and is expected to generate more than £36 million for the community over a 25 year lifetime, by selling power to the grid.
Steve McDonald, implementation director at SgurrEnergy which provided technical assistance throughout construction, said: “The successful completion of this project demonstrates that developing, financing, constructing and operating large-scale community wind farms is achievable with dedicated community leaders and experienced and flexible project partners.
The wind farm is located west of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Outer Hebridean Islands.
Before the completion of the project, only half a gigawatt of energy in the UK was produced by community projects, compared to more than 25 GW in Germany - almost 30% of its total energy generation mix.
But the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) recently announced a £200m lending programme to boost community-scale renewable energy projects in the UK.
GIB chief executive Shaun Kingsbury said at the time: "Many well-structured community-scale projects have not been able to get off the ground because of a lack of long-term finance in the market.
"These small-scale projects can make a meaningful contribution to the UK's green economy.”
Friends of the Earth (FoE) have also been trying to boost the uptake of community renewables, calling on the next UK Government to remove the current barriers to the sector's development.
Here are 10 other policies that green groups want to see from the next Government.