Category Archives: Energy

Our turbine proposals have gone into planning!

It’s up to Highland Council now wheth­er the pro­ject can go ahead, but we’re delighted to have got this far. Below are some details from our press release.

As you will have noticed the Energyshare web­site hasn’t been closed down — Energyshare decided to keep it open after many of the groups fea­tured asked them to do so. So we will con­tin­ue to keep in touch with you in this way — unless you tell us you don’t want to receive these updates.

Community renew­ables pro­ject reaches cru­cial mile­stone:

A com­munity-owned renew­able energy pro­ject has reached a cru­cial mile­stone with the sub­mis­sion of a detailed plan­ning applic­a­tion to Highland Council.

The pro­ject, which has been jointly developed by two Edinburgh-based com­munity organ­isa­tions, aims to gen­er­ate clean, renew­able energy, con­trib­ut­ing to Scottish Government efforts to tackle cli­mate change.

The two 750KW wind tur­bines at the heart of the pro­ject will also gen­er­ate a fin­an­cial return that will be shared between loc­al com­munity organ­isa­tions near the pro­ject and the non-profit groups that developed the ini­ti­at­ive, Greener Leith and PEDAL Portobello.

Charlotte Encombe, Greener Leith Chair said: “Volunteers from both Greener Leith and PEDAL Portobello have inves­ted hun­dreds of volun­teer hours to get the pro­ject to this stage, fun­drais­ing, man­aging con­tract­ors and meet­ing with loc­al com­munity groups.

“All the envir­on­ment­al stud­ies on the site show that our com­munity-owned wind pro­ject will have little impact on the sur­round­ing area, and unlike most com­mer­cial energy devel­op­ments, this pro­ject will provide a sig­ni­fic­ant fin­an­cial return to sup­port com­munity-led ini­ti­at­ives in the loc­al area as well as in Leith and Portobello.”

The pro­ject is cur­rently 95% owned by two Edinburgh-based com­munity groups Greener Leith and PEDAL Portobello. A num­ber of com­munity organ­isa­tions loc­al to the pro­ject have already been approached by volun­teers from the pro­ject, and offered the oppor­tun­ity to invest in the pro­ject.

Eva Schonveld, PEDAL Portobello Chair said: “Whilst com­munity groups close to the pro­ject are already guar­an­teed to receive annu­al com­munity bene­fit pay­ments from the pro­ject, we are also able to offer non-profit organ­isa­tions in the loc­al area the oppor­tun­ity to invest in the pro­ject dir­ectly too.”

“All over Scotland, renew­able energy pro­jects like this are gen­er­at­ing resources for com­munity groups that can help them revital­ise their areas, whilst sim­ul­tan­eously tack­ling cli­mate change and UK depend­ence on fossil fuels from for­eign coun­tries.

“We’re really excited about reach­ing this import­ant mile­stone in our pro­ject and keen to start play­ing a part in the com­munity-owned renew­able energy revolu­tion.”

Should the pro­ject receive plan­ning per­mis­sion, con­struc­tion of the wind tur­bines is expec­ted to begin in 2015.

PEDAL ‘Street Level’ — make it happen on your street!

PEDAL ‘STREET LEVEL’ NEEDS YOU TO
“DO GOOD STUFF ON YOUR STREET”

Would you love to have a street party on your street — but nev­er got round to mak­ing it hap­pen? Or do you think car-shar­ing with a few people who live close by would make sense, but you’re not sure how to go about it? Maybe you think it’s crazy that 10 people in your street have a lawn mower, when you could all just use the same one?

If so, Street Level may be for you.

It’s not com­plic­ated – just the chance to bring togeth­er a bunch of people who’d like to start some­thing good on their street — so they can share a bit of mor­al and prac­tical sup­port. Let’s get togeth­er, share ideas and resources and sup­port one anoth­er to make good things hap­pen on our streets.

The kinds of things we might do are:

Organise street parties

Join Streetbank

Get on-street bike stor­age

Start com­munity gar­dens

Build on-street planters/trees

Make or com­mis­sion pub­lic art

Share chick­ens

Start food/solar/insulation co-ops…

… stuff like that.

If you’re inter­ested, email info [at] ped­al­porty [dot] org or call Eva

Next Steps to New Site for Community Wind Energy Project

Long stand­ing sup­port­ers of PEDAL will remem­ber that we won a UK-wide fund­ing com­pet­i­tion, in part­ner­ship with Greener Leith, to help us build a com­munity owned wind tur­bine at Seafield.

visualisation of how the turbines will look from a local access route.

Visualisation of how the tur­bines will look from a loc­al access route.

P&L Turbine hub-heightAlthough Scottish Water sub­sequently pulled out of the deal, pre­vent­ing us from build­ing a tur­bine at Seafield, we did not give up, and are now pleased to be able to con­firm that we’ve secured a new site for the com­munity tur­bine pro­ject — four kilo­metres south west of Inverness.

The agree­ment fol­lows a year of com­plex nego­ti­ations. The land deal gives us exclus­ive rights to con­duct stud­ies at the site and build two wind tur­bines of up to 800K­Wp capa­city each.

P&L Turbine tomfat-mapTo take the pro­ject for­wards we have estab­lished a joint ven­ture com­pany which is major­ity owned by PEDAL and Greener Leith. Consultants to the pro­ject, SCENE, own a minor­ity (five per­cent) stake.

In addi­tion, plan­ning per­mis­sion has recently been gran­ted to install a met mast on the site to meas­ure the wind resource, which will hap­pen in the next month or so.

The next step is to meet with the com­munit­ies near to the site.  We hope loc­al non-profit groups will become part­ners in the pro­ject too, and are offer­ing them the chance to invest in, and become part own­ers of it. We want this to be a pro­ject that brings real envir­on­ment­al and fin­an­cial bene­fits, not just to our own com­munit­ies, but to those where the tur­bines will be loc­ated.

We’ve already begun this pro­cess and will be present­ing on the pro­ject at Strathnairn Community Council’s meet­ing on 26th May.

The aim is to sub­mit a full plan­ning applic­a­tion to Highland Council some­time in August. If it gets plan­ning per­mis­sion, the pro­ject could gen­er­ate an estim­ated £7m sur­plus over the twenty year lifespan of the pro­ject, to be dis­trib­uted between the com­munity groups who invest in the pro­ject — includ­ing PEDAL  and Greener Leith.

A spokes­per­son for the pro­ject said:

“Signing a land deal is a huge mile­stone for this pro­ject. PEDAL and Greener Leith volun­teers have worked for years on this pro­ject and both organ­isa­tions remain firmly com­mit­ted to com­munity-owned renew­able energy. Our atten­tion is now focussed on identi­fy­ing poten­tial non-profit com­munity part­ners loc­al to the site who we can work with to help us take the pro­ject for­wards and share in the sub­sequent bene­fits.

“Although a lot still needs to hap­pen before we can be cer­tain the pro­ject will go ahead, we hope to put in a full plan­ning applic­a­tion later in the year, with a view to start­ing con­struc­tion on site in 2015. We’d like to thank all the people who have got behind the pro­ject, espe­cially our key fun­ders, for their ongo­ing sup­port.”

You can find out more about the pro­ject at the spe­cially set-up web­site at http://communityturbines.wordpress.com.

Busking Bike at the market on the 5th April

In col­lab­or­a­tion with the Science Festival, we’re very pleased to wel­come the Busking Bike, who’ll be with us the whole morn­ing.  With mind-bog­gling exper­i­ments and dazzling sci­ence demos, Busking Bikes take street per­form­ance to a whole new level. Find out all about the latest devel­op­ments in Scottish sci­ence and wit­ness explo­sions, weird­ness and plenty of mess. 

Bill McKibben is talking on Fossil Fuel Divestment in Edinburgh, 30th October

 If it’s wrong to wreck the cli­mate, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreck­age.

We’re all con­nec­ted to insti­tu­tions that claim to be look­ing out for the pub­lic good, from loc­al coun­cils and gov­ern­ments, to uni­ver­sit­ies, pub­lic banks and reli­gious insti­tu­tions. Many of these insti­tu­tions, how­ever, con­tin­ue to sup­port the fossil fuel industry wheth­er we know it or not. Given that we have to leave 80% of the proven reserves of coal, oil and gas in the ground in order to avoid cata­stroph­ic changes to our cli­mate, these insti­tu­tions have a respons­ib­il­ity to stop sup­port­ing an industry whose busi­ness mod­el is based on wreck­ing our future.

This autumn Bill McKibben, the 350.org crew, and a wide range of cli­mate lead­ers will hit the road to help build a move­ment strong enough to change the ter­ri­fy­ing maths of the cli­mate crisis. The Fossil Free Europe Tour isn’t your typ­ic­al lec­ture – it will include speak­ers from across social move­ments, power­ful videos, and music from the ground-break­ing artist Filastine. Grab a tick­et and be part of a unique and com­plete exper­i­ence, unlike any talk you’ve been to before.

7 – 10pm, 30th October, 

Asembly Hall on the Mound
Mound Pl 
EH1 2LX

Here’s the link to book a tick­et:
https://www.eventbrite.com/event/8515878221

Scots Together is here — this is your opportunity to get involved.

What is it?

Scots Together is a col­lect­ive pur­chas­ing col­lab­or­a­tion which enables res­id­ents of Scotland to get togeth­er to buy their energy more cheaply, by nego­ti­at­ing as a group to get a bet­ter deal with the energy com­pan­ies.

Opens Monday 18 February and closes on Sunday 17 March 2013

Scots Together part­ner­ship between Changeworks, the Eden Project, and uSwitch, based on a suc­cess­ful scheme in Cornwall called ‘Cornwall Together’.

It’s free to access and use. Go to the www.scotstogether.com web­site with a recent energy bill in hand to register your details in order to become a mem­ber of the group.

Green Homes open day in Edinburgh – Saturday 29 September

Visit a loc­al home to see renew­ables in action

Have you ever thought about gen­er­at­ing your own energy at home?  Why not come and have a chat with some green homeown­ers in your area?

On Saturday 29 September, eight homeown­ers in Edinburgh will open their homes and share their renew­ables exper­i­ence.  This is part of a Scotland-wide event with a total of 48 homes tak­ing part across the coun­try.

Energy Saving Scotland advice centre South East is join­ing forces with Transition Edinburgh South and Transition Edinburgh Pentlands to provide an inform­a­tion hub at Colinton Mains Parish Church. Please come along, and meet with installers and with our inde­pend­ent expert advisors who can even vis­it you to see what’s suit­able for your home.

How to take part

·         Visit greenhomesopenday.org.uk to find out where the homes are and which tech­no­lo­gies they have

·         Decide which homes you’d like to vis­it.

Most homes will be open between 10.30am and 4.30pm, but please check the details on the map.

·         Speak to our spe­cial­ists at the loc­al hub event, find out more about gen­er­at­ing energy at home and meet installers. 

Funded by the Scottish Government, the Green Homes open day is part of the Green Homes Network which provides you with the excit­ing oppor­tun­ity to vis­it green homes in your area. You can find out first hand how dif­fer­ent renew­able sys­tems run in real homes, hear about actu­al costs and sav­ings, and get tips and advice that could help you on your way.

P.S. Please let your friends and neigh­bours know about this event!

Alternative site to be identified for turbine

Our reg­u­lar read­ers will know that PEDAL volun­teers have been work­ing hard with those at Greener Leith to devel­op a com­munity owned wind tur­bine at Seafield Sewage Works. In January this year we hit a stum­bling block in nego­ti­ations over the Seafield site, in rela­tion to safety and liab­il­ity issues should there be an acci­dent involving the tur­bine. In response PEDAL and Greener Leith pro­duced options for con­sid­er­a­tion by the Scottish Government.

On 28th May, Scottish Energy Minster Fergus Ewing chaired a meet­ing at Seafield involving all parties, in an attempt to find a way for­ward. However, rep­res­ent­at­ives of landown­ers Scottish Water and site oper­at­ors Veolia Water stated that the site is no longer con­sidered suit­able for a wind tur­bine due to the pos­sible need for land to expand the waste water treat­ment works in the future. 

While this devel­op­ment is frus­trat­ing, we are pleased to say that Scottish Water have pledged to help us find anoth­er site for a com­munity tur­bine, or to oth­er­wise help the com­munit­ies of Portobello and Leith achieve their renew­able energy aspir­a­tions. Fergus Ewing MSP will chair a fol­low up meet­ing with Scottish Water in September to review pro­gress on these pos­sib­il­it­ies. 

This press release below was agreed by all the parties involved in the nego­ti­ations and was issued by the Scottish Government last Friday, 8th June. 

Community groups, Scottish Government and Scottish Water to work togeth­er.

Community groups, Scottish Water and the Scottish Government have agreed to work togeth­er to find an altern­at­ive site for a wind tur­bine owned by com­munit­ies in the East of Edinburgh.

Following a meet­ing between Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, rep­res­ent­at­ives from PEDAL (Portobello Transition Town), Greener Leith and Scottish Water agreed to find an altern­at­ive site for a com­munity-owned wind tur­bine for the East of Edinburgh.

The two com­munity groups had planned to erect a wind tur­bine at Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works, with money raised from the tur­bine bene­fit­ing both com­munit­ies, but the site is no longer con­sidered suit­able.

The land in ques­tion provides the only poten­tial for vital expan­sion of the Waste Water Treatment Works serving Edinburgh should this be neces­sary to meet future cus­tom­er demands. At the meet­ing on May 28, also atten­ded by loc­al MSP Kenny MacAskill, all parties agreed to work togeth­er to find an altern­at­ive site, or anoth­er way for Scottish Water to work with the com­munity groups.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland is lead­ing the way across the UK in how we sup­port loc­al and com­munity own­er­ship of renew­able energy, and I am determ­ined to ensure com­munit­ies all over Scotland reap the bene­fits of renew­able energy.

“Although it is dis­ap­point­ing that the site ori­gin­ally iden­ti­fied can­not be used for this com­munity wind tur­bine, this was a pos­it­ive and pro­duct­ive meet­ing.

“The Scottish Government and Scottish Water have agreed to help PEDAL and Greener Leith to find a site for anoth­er scheme else­where.

“If a suit­able site can­not be found, Scottish Water have indic­ated there are oth­er ways they would be able to work with the Community Group, and the Scottish Government and Community Energy Scotland will explore the pos­sib­il­ity of a part­ner­ship arrange­ment with a rur­al group to help Greener Leith and PEDAL achieve their renew­ables ambi­tion.

“I have asked to be kept up to date on this issue and will be closely fol­low­ing pro­gress.”

Free insulation for Porty households (and across south east Scotland)!

City of Edinburgh Council (and oth­er loc­al author­it­ies across south east Scotland) have made free cav­ity wall and loft insu­la­tion avail­able to house­holds regard­less of their income. This offer is open to all homeown­ers and ten­ants of private land­lords. The only require­ment is that your home can take cav­ity and/or loft insu­la­tion. It will also cov­er meas­ures to enable the work to hap­pen, such as scaf­fold­ing or enlarge­ment of loft hatches.

To access this fant­ast­ic offer phone 0800 512 012, or text ‘Warm’ to 81025, or e-mail free­in­su­la­tion [at] se [dot] energysav­ing­scot­land [dot] org [dot] uk

Measures will be alloc­ated on a first come, first served basis, so you are encour­aged to apply quickly. Loft insu­la­tion alone can save on aver­age £175 a year on heat­ing costs! Have you got yours yet?

Porty & Leith Community Wind Turbine hits stumbling block in land negotiations

We are very dis­ap­poin­ted that our plans for the first urb­an com­munity wind tur­bine in Scotland have hit a stum­bling block after the landown­er, Scottish Water, changed their stance on the pro­ject at the start of this year.

Negotiations stalled after the private sec­tor com­pan­ies that man­age the PFI con­tract at the treat­ment works deman­ded that Scottish Water accept liab­il­ity for any acci­dents involving the pro­posed tur­bine on the site.

Although the risk of the wind tur­bine dam­aging the sewage works is extremely small, Scottish Water — which is 100% owned by Scottish Ministers —  have said they are not will­ing to accept the risk, even though PEDAL and Greener Leith would fund an insur­ance policy as part of the pro­ject.

Talks with Scottish Water and the com­pan­ies that man­age the Seafield site through a Private Finance Initiative began in February 2011. Despite receiv­ing sev­er­al writ­ten assur­ances from seni­or staff rep­res­ent­ing the organ­isa­tions involved that they would back a tur­bine on this site, it was not until 19th January 2012, nearly a year later, that Scottish Water changed their stance on the cru­cial land deal.

Representatives of PEDAL, Greener Leith and Scottish Water last met on 1st February 2012 in an unsuc­cess­ful attempt to resolve the issue. Since then, hav­ing already put in many hun­dreds of hours over many months to get the pro­ject to this stage, we have attemp­ted to lobby Scottish Government min­is­ters in a bid to find a way for­ward. 
 We’ve called on them to dir­ect Scottish Water to indem­ni­fy the PFI con­tract hold­ers from any risk asso­ci­ated with this pro­ject. Alternatively, the Scottish Government should cre­ate an indem­nity bond to cov­er com­munity renew­able pro­jects on land sub­ject to PFI. This could be covered in the future from the pro­ceeds from com­munity pro­jects that have benefited from it.

To date Scottish Water has not changed its stance on the pro­ject.

The extent of the influ­ence of private con­tract­ors over Scottish Water is unclear as the pro­ject requires a land deal that would last longer than the cur­rent PFI con­tract at Seafield – and the land, like Scottish Water, is ulti­mately owned by the pub­lic sec­tor. 

Proposals to build a single wind tur­bine on the site are the res­ult of long stand­ing col­lab­or­a­tion between PEDAL and neigh­bour­ing com­munity group Greener Leith. We already have fund­ing from the Scottish Government and British Gas Energyshare in place to take the pro­ject to plan­ning applic­a­tion and grid con­nec­tion. 


Expert opin­ion sug­gests that the Seafield site is the most pro­duct­ive site in the area. To date, our feas­ib­il­ity work has not uncovered any envir­on­ment­al or engin­eer­ing reas­on why the Seafield pro­ject could not pro­ceed. 

Eva Schonveld, Chair of PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town said:

 “We are par­tic­u­larly frus­trated that Scottish Water has taken a whole year to identi­fy these issues, dur­ing which a huge num­ber of volun­teer hours have been put into the pro­ject. Our feas­ib­il­ity work shows there are no tech­nic­al ‘show-stop­pers’ to build­ing a tur­bine here, we are the most sup­por­ted of nearly 1000 pro­jects across the UK that took part in the Energyshare com­pet­i­tion, and we have all the funds in place to take the pro­ject to plan­ning sub­mis­sion.

“We con­tin­ue to try to resolve the issue of liab­il­ity through nego­ti­ations and polit­ic­al solu­tions. It seems extraordin­ary that dozens of wind tur­bines oper­ate without incid­ent on sewage works around the world, but this can­not be done on pub­lic land in Edinburgh. We simply can­not accept that, which is why we are determ­ined to find a way for­ward.”

Charlotte Encombe, Chair of Greener Leith said:

“We are bit­terly dis­ap­poin­ted to have got this far only for the pro­ject to be stalled on what looks like a tech­nic­al­ity.
We are explor­ing every avail­able option to resolve this impasse, and will not give up on the pro­ject yet. We owe it to the thou­sands of sup­port­ers who voted for us on Energyshare.com, the hun­dreds of loc­al people who will bene­fit and our pro­ject fun­ders to try to find a way to break the dead­lock.”

Georgy Davis of Community Energy Scotland, a mem­ber­ship organ­isa­tion that rep­res­ents com­munity renew­able energy pro­jects in Scotland said:

“This is a dis­ap­point­ing turn of affairs for this inspir­a­tion­al pro­ject that is a res­ult of sig­ni­fic­ant com­munity efforts.

“The issue of indem­nity for third parties in rela­tion to land that has exist­ing infra­struc­ture on it is one that could be of increas­ing sig­ni­fic­ance for com­munity-led renew­able pro­jects par­tic­u­larly in the urb­an envir­on­ment poten­tially ham­per­ing the Scottish Government’s abil­ity to achieve it’s tar­get for renew­ables in gen­er­al and com­munity renew­ables in par­tic­u­lar. We believe the issue needs resolved.”

The two groups held a peace­ful demon­stra­tion at the pro­posed site yes­ter­day, 28th April. 

Large scale wind tur­bines can be found at indus­tri­al sites in oth­er coun­tries such as England, Holland and the USA. These include tur­bines at com­mer­cial ports, chem­ic­al plants, water treat­ment and waste water treat­ment works. Those to be found in oper­a­tion in England include 1x 1,300KWp tur­bine at Hull Waste Water Treatment Works and 2x 600K­Wp tur­bines at Mablethorpe Sewage Treatment Works. Further, con­sen­ted wind pro­jects at waste water treat­ment works are: Bristol (4x 3,000KWp), Newthorpe in Nottinghamshire (1x 3,300KWp) and Severn-Trent in Leicestershire (1x 3,400KWp).


The Scottish Government’s tar­get is to achieve 100% of elec­tri­city demand from renew­ables by 2020 and 500MW of com­munity-owned renew­ables by the same date. See their Electricity Generation Policy at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0038/00389294.pdf for more inform­a­tion. To-date, com­munity owned renew­able energy pro­jects in Scotland have a com­bined gen­er­at­ing capa­city of 19MW, mainly in the form of on-shore wind and hydro.

More than 90 PFI or PPP pro­jects exist on pub­licly-owned land around Scotland, there­fore PEDAL and Greener Leith believe it is only a mat­ter of time before oth­er com­munity renew­ables pro­jects encounter sim­il­ar prob­lems.