Double celebration as BHA community wind farm is named as a finalist in two top awards
The innovative new community wind farm developed by Berwickshire Housing Association (BHA) and its partners Community Energy Scotland (CES) has been named as a finalist in two prestigious industry awards.
‘The Fisherman Three’ wind farm near Cockburnspath in the Scottish Borders is the first wind farm in the UK to have been developed by a housing association as a means of funding new homes for social rental.
The wind farm project is a finalist in the ‘Best Community Project’ category of the Scottish Green Energy Awards, run by Scottish Renewables, the representative body of the Scottish renewable energy industry.
The project will join a raft of offshore energy world firsts on the 40-strong shortlist including the largest tidal stream array on earth, the first floating wind farm, the company which installed the largest and most powerful marine energy device in the world and the first tidal turbine array. The winners will be announced on November 30.
It is also in the running for the “Margaret Blackwood Award for Excellence in Housing Innovation’, part of the CIH Excellence Awards. These awards celebrate the very best projects, people and teams in Scottish housing, with winners due to be announced on October 27.
The wind farm was launched in March by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, minister for business, innovation and energy. By supplying energy to the National Grid, it will create revenue for BHA of around £20 million over the next 25 years – enough to allow them to build 500 new homes over that period. Community Energy Scotland will use its £10m share of the revenue to support communities across the country to develop and benefit from renewable energy projects.
The 3-turbine scheme has an installed capacity of 7.5MW and will export just under 25 million kilowatt-hours each year - enough energy to power around 5,900 households.
Helen Forsyth, chief executive of Berwickshire Housing Association, said: “Not only will the wind farm power homes and provide us with a steady source of income to allow us to build much-needed new homes, it will also provide an initial community benefit payment of £37,500 per year. This will be given to the communities closest to the wind farm, to be spent on whatever they identify as their priorities. It will also save 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
“The wind farm has already been highly commended in the British Renewable Energy Awards earlier this year. It’s great to be shortlisted in two such prestigious awards, but of course we’re really hoping that it picks up at least one win - if not two!”
Nicholas Gubbins, chief executive of Community Energy Scotland, added: “It’s great to see the wind farm being recognised again, by experts in both the housing and the renewable energy sectors, which is entirely appropriate as it is making such a difference in both areas. We hope that taking home an award will make the project even more inspirational to other community groups who might want to take forward their own renewable energy projects.”