Plans for a second community-led windfarm in the Helensburgh area were revealed this week.
Helensburgh Renewables, a community-owned trading company set up originally with the backing of the town’s community council but now independent of it, has outlined plans for a community wind farm which would generate long-term funding for local projects and initiatives.
Like the Cove Community Wind Farm, it would have five turbines, in this case aiming for a potential windfall totalling more than £5m over 20 years
The turbines would be sited above Helensburgh reservoirs, outwith Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.
The team behind the project say the area has moderately high wind speeds and is near to both a main road and an electricity substation, with no special designations.
A statement released today said it was ‘relatively remote from all but a very few dwellings and, with much of Helensburgh facing seaward, presents no significant visual impact for most of the town’s residents’.
The wind farm would be managed and operated for the benefit of the community, and a partnership with wind farm specialists Green Cat Renewables Ltd and landowners Luss Estates Company would mean there is no financial outlay by the community.
Helensburgh Renewables are preparing a public consultation to take place later this year, with the wind farm potentially going live in 2015 subject to planning permission.
Ian Fraser, managing director of Helensburgh Renewables, said: “Helensburgh Community Wind Farm has been inspired by similar community projects on the Isle of Gigha, at Fintry and, more recently, in Neilston, all of which have secured a growing income stream for their local communities for the next 20 to 25 years, whilst reducing carbon footprints.
“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, commented: “This is an exciting new model for community involvement in renewable energy projects, with the community being a full partner alongside the landowner and an experienced wind energy company.
“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 financial projections are based on average wind speeds, anticipated wholesale electricity prices and the returns of similarly sized projects.
Simon Miller, chief executive of Luss Estates Company, added: “Given the tough economic climate, this model is an excellent way to fund many invaluable projects in Helensburgh, and having been approached by the community Luss Estates is delighted to facilitate and support this innovative solution by partnering Helensburgh Renewables and Green Cat Renewables.
“We look forward to working closely with the community as the project progresses.”
The Helensburgh Advertiser this week reports that the turbines would be visible from as far away as Dunoon and Rothesay.