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@pedalporty.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@se.energysavingscotland.org.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.