Category Archives: Wind Turbine

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.

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.”

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, 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 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.  

Support the Community Turbine DEMO TOMORROW (Saturday 28th April) at TEN!

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
Press pho­to­graph­ers will be present.
Please pass this mes­sage on — we only have until tomor­row!

Thank You!

A huge thank you to all who voted for us on – 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.

With best wishes,

PEDAL and Greener Leith

A short plea from the Energyshare voting event in London

A short plea by video from volun­teer and tur­bine pro­ject stal­wart Chas Booth on why you should vote for the Porty & Leith Community Wind Energy Project:

Chas was speak­ing from the Energyshare final vot­ing event in London today.

Thanks for rep­res­ent­ing, Chas!

You can vote for us (before 5PM) at

Motion in Parliament for Turbine Support

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 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 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.

Scottish Community Groups Make St Andrew’s Day Appeal for Support

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

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

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”

River Cottage’s Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall said:“We have already seen
at 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

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
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.

Get involved now at

Please vote for us!

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.

Vote for us HERE 

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.

Thank you

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.

Support for tur­bine fly­er — vote for us

Fintry Film Launch: A Scottish Village Benefits from Wind Energy

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: