A wind farm in Cockburnspath, named Fishermen Three, will be the first to support a housing development project in the UK.
The Berwickshire Housing Association (BHA) is hoping the wind farm will generate £20 million over the next 25 years in order for them to build 500 homes (and generating enough power for approximately 5,900 homes).
Community Energy Scotland who is joining forces with BHA on Fishermen Three, has said they will use their own share of the income generated to support other communities in developing renewable energy projects.
Helen Forsyth, BHA chief executive, said: “The idea for the wind farm came when BHA 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 BHA with 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.”
Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The newly re-named 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 BHA’s ambitions to develop the wind farm for many years, so I congratulate Helen Forsyth and the BHA team, and Community Energy Scotland, for achieving the successful delivery of this important project.”
Nicholas Gubbins, chief executive of Community Energy Scotland, said: “The UK energy system is changing and we want to make sure that communities are at the forefront of the opportunities that this will create for new, low carbon energy developments. This project will help us to do this, whilst providing an initial community benefit payment of £37,500 per year which will go to the communities closest to the wind farm site, to be spent on whatever they identify as their priorities.”
Norrie Cruickshank, relationship manager at Triodos Bank, said: “At Triodos we are always looking to assist with social housing and community renewable energy projects, so we were delighted to provide loan finance for this unique and exciting project.”