Second Scottish housing association to build wind turbines for community benefit
After ten years of development, Fyne Homes has today announced plans to build a three-turbine development in Argyll and Bute that will generate £15.6 million of community and charitable benefit over the next 20 years.
The 6.9-megawatt windfarm will produce enough clean energy to power around 4000 households and is only the second project of its kind.
A wind farm in the Scottish Borders which will create enough revenue for Berwickshire Housing Association (BHA) to build 500 new homes over the next 25 years was officially launched last year.
The wind energy project will be built with a £11.4m investment from Triodos Bank, which was chosen as financial supporter due to the its experience in renewable and social lending. Triodos was also involved in the BHA project.
The Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies, has also provided £2.82m of investment for the project via the Renewable Energy Investment Fund. Initial support for the project was provided by the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme.
Colin Renfrew, chief executive at Fyne Homes, said: “Fyne Homes and the Fyne Group are delighted that this innovative project is about to start. We are appreciative that Triodos Bank and Scottish Investment Bank recognise the economic, social and environmental value of our three turbine development, providing essential investment to make the project a reality. The long term income from the three turbines will ensure the Fyne Group can continue to reinvest in our charitable objectives for social housing, local employment and sustainability, as well as providing investment for local priorities.”
Fyne Energy’s three turbines have a projected 6.9-megawatt output, which is anticipated to generate an average of £750k community benefit income per annum. The community benefit funding will be distributed equally to three community initiatives:
- one third will support social housing charitable objectives led by Fyne Homes;
- one third will support charitable employability and environmental priorities led by Fyne Futures, and;
- one third will be invested in local priorities identified by the local community.
Glenbarr residents will also be encouraged to be involved in developing the local investment strategy.
Norrie Cruickshank, account manager at Triodos Bank, said: “Fyne Energy is an exciting project that is going to tackle two pressing issues at the same time—affordable housing and clean energy. At Triodos, we work to make sure organisations like Fyne get the funding and financial support they need to have a positive impact on the local community. It’s the determination and innovative thinking of everyone at Fyne Homes that will help create a better world for us all.”
The project has been assisted by the Scottish Government, as part of a pilot to develop renewable income for reinvestment in affordable housing and community priorities. Existing examples of community renewables, such as Islay Energy Trust and Tiree Community Development Trust, have demonstrated the value of wind energy generation for community benefit. This project offers the opportunity to deliver community benefit on a greater scale than the financial model estimates.
Kerry Sharp, director of the Scottish Investment Bank, said: “After ten years of development, we are delighted to help secure this investment in Scotland. Projects like Fyne Energy play an important part in helping grow Scotland’s renewable energy generation capability and provide meaningful, long term revenue for communities which can then be used to support housing, jobs and other local priorities.”
Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse added: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government has been able to support the Fyne Homes project through our flagship Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) delivered on our behalf by Local Energy Scotland. Community benefit is a valuable source of income for local communities located near renewable developments, and it is fantastic that this project will generate significant benefits for Argyll and Bute residents for many years to come, while also providing new revenue to support Fyne Homes’ investment programme to meet local housing priorities.”
The development at Auchadaduie, Glenbarr in the Kintyre Peninsula was initially conceived by Alan Hobbit, previously of Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust. It has been developed by Fyne Futures, with support from Fyne Homes, the parent company. Fyne Homes are also recognised for their role in supporting communities in Argyll and Bute.
The local community will be supported to develop an investment strategy to maximise the value of the renewable income locally. From initial consultation work with Glenbarr locals, priorities which were identified included support for employment opportunities, developing woodlands and environmental projects, as well as village hall improvements. The need for investment in local community facilities was also highlighted, including sports, childcare and transport provision.
Further community engagement is planned over the coming weeks and an outline of the construction phase will be provided.