Plans have been revealed for a wind farm in Helensburgh – with a third of the profits from the venture ploughed into the town.
Helensburgh Renewables, a community owned trading company, has outlined plans for five wind turbines on land above Helensburgh reservoirs, with some of the cash generated by selling energy to the national grid going towards numerous projects in the area.
The initiative is in partnership with land owners Luss Estates and wind turbine firm Green Cat Renewables Ltd, with the money being split three ways.
Helensburgh Renewables would manage the public cash and it reckons the amount handed to the community could total £5m over 20 years. It is also claimed that there would be “no significant visual impact for most of the town’s residents”.
Community councillor Ian Fraser, who is managing director of Helensburgh Renewables, said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to generate much needed funds for vital local services and initiatives throughout our town and community. Unlike commercial wind farms, Helensburgh Community Wind Farm will be for and by the community, and I would urge anyone who is interested in the future of Helensburgh as a community to engage with us when we undertake our full public consultation this year.”
Gavin Catto, director of Green Cat Renewables Ltd, added: “This partnership model means that the community will gain far more financially than in a normal commercial development, but the project will still benefit from the experience and commercial drive of an experienced developer.”
The proposal is similar to plans by Rosneath Peninsula West Community Development Trust, submitted to Argyll and Bute Council last week, to build five turbines above Cove – but the difference is that the peninsula project will plough every penny into surrounding villages.
Councillor Vivien Dance said of the Helensburgh project: “The real reservations are that this is a three-way split with only one third of the money going to the community. It’s also contrary to planning policy as it would be on green belt land and I think it will struggle to get public support. This has been in the pipeline now for a couple of years and it’s time to gauge public reaction.”
Helensburgh Community Council (HCC) heard about the plans during a presentation last week. Speaking afterwards, John Tacchi said members listened with interest and many questions were asked.
He added that HCC had not formed an opinion as it would firstly need to consult residents on their views. If planning permission is received the project could be generating income by 2015.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding