Photograph © Russell Bruce
Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse MSP has launched the first wind farm to be developed by a housing association to fund the building of new homes for social rent. The ‘Fisherman Three’ community wind farm near Cockburnspath is a joint venture between Berwickshire Housing Association and Community Energy Scotland.
This imaginative partnership is expected to generate enough energy to provide power for around 5900 homes with the income financing there building of 500 homes over the lifetime of the project with Community Energy Scotland receiving a £10 million share to support communities to develop and benefit from renewable energy projects.
Scottish Government minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The newly renamed Fishermen Three wind farm at Hoprigshiels is an exciting project that very ably illustrates our vision of local people benefiting from renewable energy projects installed in their area.
“As someone who lived in the local fishing community of Cove for five years, I love the new link to the area’s fishing heritage, and I have also been well aware of Berwickshire Housing Association’s ambitions to develop the wind farm for many years, so I congratulate Helen Forsyth and her team, and Community Energy Scotland, for achieving the successful delivery of this important project.
“The wind farm should generate around £30m of revenue over the next 25 years, strengthening the association’s finances and enabling it to build 500 much-needed, additional homes across Berwickshire.”
Helen Forsyth, Chief Executive, Berwickshire Housing Association, said: “The idea for the wind farm came when we realised that we had to be innovative in order to solve the dilemma of how to keep building new homes for social rental, which are so badly needed in this area, at a time when funding for new housing through traditional channels was in decline.
“The wind farm will provide a reliable, predictable, low maintenance source of income that will allow us to build a steady stream of new affordable homes at a time when services are all too often being cut. ”
The three-turbine scheme will have an installed capacity of 7.5MW and will export just under 25 million kilowatt-hours each year.
The Fisherman Three wind farm project has been supported by Triodos Bank and the Renewable Energy Investment Fund. The Renewable Energy Investment Fund was launched in October 2012. It aim is to promote the use of energy from specific renewable sources and drive further investment into key areas of Scotland’s renewables industry. REIF considers projects that support the delivery of energy from a renewable source or represent an innovative renewable energy technology. REIF is delivered by the Scottish Investment Bank – the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise – on behalf of the Scottish Government and its Enterprise Agencies.