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.
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.”
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.
PEDAL and Greener Leith have hit a stumbling block in negotiations over the deal to enable the Portobello & Leith Community Wind Turbine to be built on Scottish Water’s land.
We really need local people to come along to show their support for the project on this tomorrow, Saturday 28th April. Please please meet on the Prom at the slip road behind the Dog & Cat Home at 10AM and we will walk/cycle/scoot to the turbine site. Also can anyone make a banner? If so contact justinkenrick [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk.
Press photographers will be present.
Please pass this message on — we only have until tomorrow!
A huge thank you to all who voted for us on Energyshare.com – we won, beating competition from nearly 1,000 other community renewables projects from around the UK! And thanks also to those who passed the message round their networks encouraging others to vote.
The prize is funding to complete feasibility and site investigation work for a community-owned wind turbine on land at Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works. The funding is very welcome but just as valuable is the demonstration of massive support from local people for the project.
Today, Rob Gibson, MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross (Scottish National Party) placed the following motion in the Scottish Parliament:
Motion S4M-01448 — Rob Gibson (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (Scottish National Party) : Vote, Vote, Vote for Strathpeffer, Portobello and Leith
That the Parliament congratulates Strathpeffer Community Centre in Ross-shire and Portobello and Leith Community Wind Energy Project in Edinburgh for making it through to the final round of voting in the Energyshare.com contest to receive funding toward completion of their community renewables and energy saving projects; notes that they are the only Scottish projects to make it through to the final round and congratulates them on what it sees as their drive and tenacity in pursuing their projects to this stage; notes that they have chosen St Andrew’s Day, Scotland’s national day, to launch a campaign for Scots to support their two projects; notes that both projects have engaged with the local community in the promotion of renewable energy and energy saving; considers that community-owned renewables and energy saving can make an important contribution to tackling climate change and reducing fuel bills, and encourages all those who support community-owned renewables and energy saving to register their support for these projects on the energyshare.com website by 3 December 2011.
Supported by: Sandra White, Annabelle Ewing, Angus MacDonald, David Torrance, John Finnie, Dennis Robertson
You can also view this motion on the Scottish Parliament website.
Two Scottish community renewable energy projects have teamed up to make a St. Andrew’s Day appeal for support. The two projects – one from Edinburgh and the other from Strathpeffer in the Highlands – have chosen Scotland’s national day to appeal for online votes to help them win funding from the Energyshare fund.
River Cottage and Scottish Gas are putting power in the hands of the people from across Scotland by encouraging them to vote in their Energyshare Fund, a new green initiative giving the public a say on where hundreds of thousands of pounds should be spent to help local community energy projects.
The energyshare fund will enable communities to generate renewable energy which will create an income stream to support a variety of community activities.
Strathpeffer Community Centre in Ross-shire and Portobello & Leith Community Wind Energy Project in Edinburgh are two locally run community projects from Scotland who have made it through to the last 19 schemes (out of nearly 1000) in a bid to win the funding.
Portobello & Leith Community Wind Energy Project
Portobello & Leith Community Wind Energy Project would see a community-owned wind turbine built at Seafield in Edinburgh. In 2010, PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town and Greener Leith, started working together to explore the feasibility of a wind turbine on land at Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works in Edinburgh. If successful, this will be the first community-owned large scale wind project in a UK city.
Charlotte Encombe, Chair of Greener Leith said: “Portobello & Leith Community Wind Energy Project has the potential to make a big difference to carbon emissions and generate substantial funding for the next 25 years for local sustainable development projects which in the current economic climate simply would not be considered affordable. If we are successful, the funding will be a big step towards reality for a project that could reduce CO2 emissions from electricity generation by between 400 and 2000 tonnes per year over the lifetime of the installation. We’d like as many Scots as possible to show their support on this St. Andrew’s Day and vote for Portobello & Leith Community Wind Energy Project by visiting energyshare.com/voting.
Eva Schonveld, Chair of PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town said: “We are delighted to have got this far in the Energyshare competition, but if we are to turn our renewable vision into reality, we really need Scots the world over to support our project on St. Andrew’s Day.”
Locally run, Strathpeffer Community Centre is open to all the community. Despite being only 10 years old, the centre is not energy efficient. The centre wants to be more efficient and reduce costs so that the money the charity raises can go on activities for the community and not on keeping the centre heated. They are concentrating on installing practical energy saving measures including automatic entrance doors, motion sensing light switches and loft insulation.
Clara Hickey, Strathpeffer Community Centre Manager said: “We are delighted to be in the final nineteen community groups selected by Scottish Gas and River Cottage to win the energyshare prize. We are calling on people from across Scotland to vote for us as our project is based on the practical things we can do to the centre to make it more efficient and so save money on our electricity bill, small changes will mean a lot to us and our community. We have had a great deal of support from our village but need the whole of Scotland to now get behind us and vote for us. We hope as many people cast their vote for Strathpeffer by visiting energyshare.com/voting.”
River Cottage’s Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall said:“We have already seen at energyshare.com communities who through either saving money on their energy bills or creating income though energy generation have reinvigorated key community facilities. The funding available is not simply about turbines or solar PV, it’s about enabling people to make their communities more sustainable – both environmentally and economically.”
Gearoid Lane, Managing Director of British Gas New Markets, said: “We’re seeing a genuine groundswell of interest around the country from communities wanting to generate their own clean, green energy. Energyshare is the first initiative of its kind that allows people to have their say in how communities save and generate their own energy.”
There will be four recipients of funding, decided entirely by the public via a vote that is taking place at energyshare.com/voting. There are three categories: small, medium and large and people can vote once in each category.
Strathpeffer is within the small category and Portobello and Leith Community Wind Energy Project is within the medium category. They are the only groups that have reached this final stage from Scotland.So they hope to gain as much local support as they can in addition to inspiring others across Britain with their exciting plans.
The public vote opened on 15 November and the winners will be announced on 3rd December.
Anyone voting can become a winner too — River Cottage is giving away 5 books every day to voters. Plus, for the energyshare Group who gets the most supporters voting, they can scoop a £1,000 cash prize.
Out of nearly 1,000 participating projects from across the UK, PEDAL and Greener Leith’s proposal for a community wind turbine at Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works is in the final 19 that might win funding from Energyshare! We are in the medium projects category and so stand to win up to £80,000 towards the project.
Please note you only get one vote per project category.
If you are already a supporter of our project on the Energyshare website, please note this is not the same as voting! All supporters will still need to place their votes if they want us to win the funding. Winning projects will only be judged on numbers of votes, not numbers of supporters.
We have produced an updated set of Frequently Asked Questions for those who are interested in finding out ore about the project and how it is progressing.
Spread the word
Please ask your friends, colleagues and neighbours if they can support us, by forwarding this mail, adding the Energyshare voting widget (available on the right of this website or on the EnergyShare website) to your website site and/or Facebook page, or through Twitter - asking them to vote for Portobello & Leith Community Wind Energy Project. Pleas note you can sign up to Energyshare using your Facebook account if you prefer this to using your e-mail account.
A huge thanks you to all our supporters. We’re really pleased to have got this far, and clearly we couldn’t have done it without your help.
Fintry Development Trust has today released a short documentary that shows how communities can benefit from investing in renewable energy. The village of Fintry in Stirlingshire is a primary example of a community that has embraced renewable energy – and benefited greatly.
The short documentary film Wind of Change has been released online. It shows how Fintry, with its 300 households, became the first village in the UK to enter a joint-venture agreement with a wind farm developer. Instead of fighting the plans for the 14-turbine development, they convinced the renewable developers to add an additional turbine for the village to the proposed wind farm. Fintry now receives an average of approximately £30,000-£50,000 a year in revenue from the wind turbine and is investing the money to the benefit of the entire community. Fintry Development Trust manage the income stream from the turbine and has provided free insulation to more than half of the households in the village and is now embarking on new ambitious projects to eventually make Fintry a sustainable, zero waste and zero carbon community.
Wind of Change follows the Fintry community as it carries out a number of these projects such as installing micro-renewable heating systems, planting a community orchard and opening a woodland area for the local primary school. The 15-minute documentary was produced by Edinburgh-based filmmaker Cornelia Reetz. It premiered at the UK Green Film Festival in Leeds and Glasgow and will be broadcast on the Community Channel in a few weeks time. You now have a chance to watch the film online on the following website: http://windofchangefilm.wordpress.com/.