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Infinergy sponsors Community Ownership of Onshore Wind event at Scottish Parliament

Following on from sponsoring ResPublica's The Community Renewables Economy, launched in Westminster by Energy Minister Greg Barker MP last year, Infinergy has now taken the discussion to the Scottish Parliament.

At Holyrood, Edinburgh, community ownership of onshore wind developments was the main topic during the first event of its kind in the Scottish Parliament, which brought together community groups, funders, developers and parliamentarians to discuss and promote community ownership of onshore wind projects in Scotland.

The event was hosted by Rob Gibson MSP, a strong promoter of community renewables, and allowed community groups from across Scotland to hear from supportive MSPs and the Minister for Local Government and Planning Derek Mackay MSP. The Planning Minister, who is responsible for community planning, set out the Scottish Government’s vision for greater community involvement and ownership of onshore wind.

Local Energy Scotland and the Scottish Investment Bank contributed speeches during the event. Community groups from as far south as Dumfries & Galloway and as far north as the Highlands attended the event.

Rob Gibson SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross said:

“Community ownership of onshore wind turbines is on the rise. They deserve a special place in the Scottish planning process where the top line is sustainable economic growth. I am supporting wind energy producers whose work is appreciated in many communities who gave their full support to this event.”

Infinergy's MD Esbjorn Wilmar said that community ownership would be embraced by more developers if it was recognised in the planning process, stating:

“I truly believe that working collaboratively and ensuring benefits are seen across the entire sector is the key to the success of this country’s renewable energy policies and targets.

“At the moment the planning system only gives limited consideration to the benefit that community ownership can bring and if community ownership is taking into account by the planning then we will see communities and developers working more closely together.”

Wind measurement masts installed

In order to obtain site specific wind data, Infinergy have now installed two measurement ‘met’ masts at the sites for the proposed Stroanshalloch Wind Farm and Shepherds’ Rig Wind Farm. The masts are 80m in height and will measure the local wind resource, wind speed and direction at various heights for at least a year.

Community Open Days to be held in July

Infinergy is holding three Community Open Days to allow all those in the area a chance to view the draft plans for Shepherds' Rig, Stroanshalloch and Marnhoul Wind Farms and meet with members of the team.  The Community Open Days will take place on the following days:

  • Monday 22nd July 2013, 2pm to 7pm: Lagwyne Hall, Carsphairn (near Shepherds' Rig Wind Farm)
  • Tuesday 23rd July 2013, 2pm to 7pm: Corsock Village Hall (near Marnhoul Wind Farm)
  • Wednesday 24th July 2013, 2pm to 7pm: Glencairn Memorial Institute, Moniaive (near Stroanshalloch Wind Farm) 

Infinergy has sent a newsletter to almost 3,000 households inviting residents to the open days to meet with communities and gather feedback. The projects are at early site design stage and lots of information is still to be gathered in order to finalise the proposals. Infinergy is already in dialogue with local residents in relation to one proposal, which has resulted in the company redesigning the site and reducing the number of turbines. 

Following the open days, Infinergy will use the feedback to continue work on the design and layout of each of the wind farms and then hold further information days, possibly early next year.  Only after further discussion with local communities will Infinergy submit planning applications to the relevant authorities later in 2014.

Infinergy is committed to providing £5,000 per MW of installed capacity in community benefit.  Infinergy is also looking at various options to allow local communities to become partners in any of the projects so that it is part community owned and more information will be available at the open days.

Fiona Milligan, Project Manager, said:

“Infinergy is pleased to announce Community Open Days for our proposed wind farm developments in Dumfries & Galloway.  We are at the start of our proposals for the area and believe it is important we speak to local communities, answer questions they may have about our proposals and receive their feedback.

“We understand that there are a number of proposed developments in Dumfries & Galloway as a whole and we want to work with local residents to ensure that our proposals work and benefit the area.”

“Infinergy is committed to the principle that communities should benefit from the generation of local renewable energy. We want to work with the communities to develop high quality projects with a focus on community involvement and want to set up a scheme so that one or more of our projects can be part community owned.”