Today (Friday 19th October) saw the opening of the first community owned revenue generating wind turbine in the Western Isles.
‘Cuibhle an Fhortain’ (The Wheel of Fortune) is the first of it’s kind on the island and is in the village of Shawbost.
Energy generated by the turbine will be sold into the National Grid through the Feed-in Tariff scheme, and will provide an estimated £80,000 annually for the local community, which consists of 70 households on the western side of the Isle of Lewis.
Funds will be distributed by the Horshader Development Trust in accordance with the community’s wishes. A community consultation day is to be held later this month. Ideas currently under discussion include investment in facilities for the area’s young people and transport links for the remote community.
Two pipers lead the community and attendees up to the turbine, where it was officially opened by the widows of two directors of the trust who passed away before the project was completed. – Stornoway Gazette
This is a £1.8million development financed by the Co-Op Bank with a return guaranteed by Feed In Tariffs. Should they be reduced or removed, the Community will be left with an unservicable debt! Looking at the STV film I cannot help but notice the close proximity to local houses. This looks like a project driven through by a Community Trust and has all the hallmarks of a Vanity Project for a local luminary, David Wright. The trust was originally set up to provide three small Proven Technology Turbines in what was called the Crofters scheme. Ambitions have grown and I sincerely hope that it will not be tears before bed time. Whilst I do have some support for Community Turbines, an investment that is financed by a £1.8 million loan positioned so close to houses has all the ingredients to go pear shaped. I hope that I am wrong but it would not be a gamble that I would push anyone towards.
Go to 7mins 25sec in.