Delight for charity partners as community windfarm work begins
Scotland’s first windfarm to be developed through a partnership between two charities has taken a big leap forward with the conclusion of its financing package and completion of turbine foundations.
Berwickshire Housing Association and Community Energy Scotland are taking the project forward through a joint venture company, Berwickshire Community Renewables.
The Hoprigshiels windfarm in Berwickshire comprises three 2.5MW wind turbines.
Finance for the project was finalised between Christmas and New Year 2015 which has enabled turbines to be ordered and site work to start. Completion and commissioning is expected towards the end of this year.
The windfarm will supply electricity to the national grid over a 25 year period and the revenues from the sale of power will help support the charities’ social purposes.
Helen Forsyth, chief executive of Berwickshire Housing Association, said: “We are absolutely delighted that we have been able to see the construction of the wind farm start on site at Hoprigshiels. The revenue generated by the wind farm will enable the Association to build around 20 homes a year for the next 25 years. Working with an experienced community wind farm developer like Community Energy Scotland has been a great experience for us and we couldn’t have done this without them.”
Nicholas Gubbins, chief executive of Community Energy Scotland, said: “Having helped many community groups install their own renewable energy projects over the last 8 years, it’s fantastic that we now have our own project underway – and it’s even better that we have done this in partnership with another like-minded charity.”
The project has been financed by Triodos Bank and the Scottish Investment Bank’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF).
Andrew Smith, head of the Renewable Energy Investment Fund, said: “This is exactly the type of project REIF was set up to support. This is a strong commercial investment opportunity allowing REIF to help deliver a project of significant scale. It is the first housing association deal that REIF has been able to be part of. Significant social and economic outputs will be achieved using the surpluses from the scheme and importantly, all the income from this project will be used for social or charitable purposes.”
Berwickshire Housing Association and Community Energy Scotland were keen to work with sustainable and ethical partners with significant experience in lending to social housing and community renewable energy.
Norrie Cruickshank, relationship manager at Triodos Bank, said: “We are delighted to have provided loan finance to this exciting project developed by BHA and CES. It allows for the progress of much needed affordable housing within the area and giving local communities the opportunity to develop various renewable energy schemes. Triodos Bank is always looking to assist with social housing and community renewable energy projects.”
The wind turbines are being supplied by Nordex.