Innovative wind farm project in the frame for industry awards

Paul Wheelhouse MSP with Helen Forsyth and Nicholas Gubbins

A community wind farm developed by Berwickshire Housing Association and Community Energy Scotland as a means of funding new homes for social rent is in contention for two major awards.

‘The Fisherman Three’ wind farm is based near Cockburnspath in the Scottish Borders. The project has been shortlisted as a finalist in the “Best Community Project” category of the Scottish Green Energy Awards, run by Scottish Renewables. It is also in the frame for the “Margaret Blackwood Award for Excellence in Housing Innovation”, part of the CIH Excellence Awards, run by the Chartered Institute of Housing.

The wind farm was launched earlier this year by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy. By supplying energy to the National Grid, it has been tipped to create around £20 million of revenue for BHA over the next 25 years, which will allow some 500 new homes to be built.

Community Energy Scotland will use its £10 million share of the revenue to support communities across the country to develop and benefit from renewable energy projects.

The 3-turbine scheme has an installed capacity of 7.5MW and will export just under 25 million kilowatt-hours each year, described as enough energy to power around 5,900 homes.

Helen Forsyth, chief executive of Berwickshire Housing Association said, “Not only will the wind farm power homes and provide us with a steady source of income to allow us to build much-needed new homes, it will also provide an initial community benefit payment of £37,500 per year. This will be given to the communities closest to the wind farm, to be spent on whatever they identify as their priorities. It will also save 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

“The wind farm has already been highly commended in the British Renewable Energy Awards earlier this year. It’s great to be shortlisted in two such prestigious awards, but of course we’re really hoping that it picks up at least one win – if not two!”

Nicholas Gubbins, chief executive of Community Energy Scotland added, “It’s great to see the wind farm being recognised again, by experts in both the housing and the renewable energy sectors, which is entirely appropriate as it is making such a difference in both areas. We hope that taking home an award will make the project even more inspirational to other community groups who might want to take forward their own renewable energy projects.”