A proposal to build Scotland’s first urban wind turbine on the north Edinburgh coast has been launched by two local community groups.
The community owned turbine would raise substantial funds to invest in local projects through the sale of electricity to energy companies while also contributing to a reduction in carbon emissions.
The partnership of Greener Leith and PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town is behind a campaign to raise money for the development of this project and draw attention to the plans for a wind turbine.
The organisations hope to gain support from local residents and would like them to register their support online on the website of the funding body, Energyshare Fund. The greater the support for project means a greater chance of securing financial backing.
The site suggested for the turbine is inside the Seafield Water Waste Treatment Works between Leith and Portobello.
A wind turbine rated between 500 kW and 2,300 kW capacity at that location has the potential to generate between 1 million kWh and 4.5 million kWh of electricity per year, enough renewable energy to fulfil the electricity needs of 300 – 1500 households and offset between 400 and 2000 tonnes of CO2 per year
The project hopes to follow other community-led initiatives which use revenue from a wind turbine to fund local projects like the village of Fintry in Stirlingshire where £20,000 to £50,000 is generated annually and spent within the community.
For the organisations involved this provides a long-term solution for a funding resource for the community. Jane Lewis, Chair of PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town said: “We have been working hard to find suitable renewable energy projects that will deliver carbon savings, a long-term source of funding for local community projects, and also provide a visible demonstration of the renewable resources to be found locally. We think this proposal has real promise, and we’re asking for community support to take it forward.”
Charlotte Encombe, Chair of Greener Leith said: “This project could create a community fund to help thousands of local people for many years into the future. Whilst there’s still a lot of work to do before the project gets the final green light, we hope that the proposed wind turbine will become a landmark and a source of local pride, as well as power.”
The project has gained wider support from the environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth Scotland and local politicians, Malcolm Chisholm and Kenny MacAskill.
Stan Blackley, Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “It’s great to see the communities of Leith and Portobello working together to take action on climate change.
“The Seafield site is crying out for this type of development, which would not only provide safe and clean electricity for hundreds of homes, but would also benefit the local community through a revenue stream to be invested in local services and amenities. Friends of the Earth Scotland wholeheartedly supports this proposal, and will be happy to assist Greener Leith and Portobello Transition Town however we can.”
The proposed site for the turbine falls into the constituency of Malcolm Chisholm, MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith. He said: “A community-owned wind turbine in Leith could be a real benefit to the area, since it would harness the power of the wind for community benefit.
“Many of my constituents are concerned about climate change, and this proposal could be a visible sign that the community wants to tackle that. I commend Greener Leith and Pedal for bringing this idea forward, and look forward to hearing what local residents think of the proposals.”
Revenue from the turbine also stands to benefit Portobello, in the Edinburgh Eastern constituency where Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill is MSP. He said: “I fully support this excellent proposal from Pedal and Greener Leith which chimes well with our national moves to develop Scotland as the Green Energy Powerhouse of Europe, and to encourage community ownership of renewables. I’m pleased to hear that Pedal will be seeking local residents’ views.”
A report on the proposed wind turbine in north Edinburgh will feature on STV News Edinburgh and East this evening at 6pm.
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