Contribution of community energy projects highlighted in Holyrood debate

Site of the Harlaw hydro power scheme, Edinburgh
Site of the Harlaw hydro power scheme, Edinburgh

The contribution of community projects across Scotland to reducing C02 emissions have been highlighted in Holyrood during a Scottish Parliament debate on Community Energy Fortnight 2015.

The debate was secured by Highlands & Islands MSP Mike Mackenzie, whose parliamentary motion on Community Energy Fortnight received cross-party support.

Community Energy Fortnight 2015 is celebrating community-owned renewable energy projects with the aim to promote communities to own and generate energy together.

 In the debate, projects mentioned included Harlaw Hydro (Lothians), Callander Hydro (Stirlingshire) Levenmouth community energy project (Fife), The ‘Ladies of Gigha’, the first community owned turbines in Scotland (Isle of Gigha), Shapinsay Development Trust (Orkney), and the Spirit of Lanarkshire Wind Energy Cooperative.

In addition, Local Energy Scotland has been involved in visits and events during the fortnight, including a site visit to Galson Community turbine in the Western Isles, and a visit to Lesmahagow Development Trust in South Lanarkshire.

Mike Mackenzie, MSP, commented: “I am delighted to have secured this debate as an opportunity to highlight the significant contribution that has been made by communities across the Highlands and Islands and, indeed, the rest of Scotland in ushering in a new energy future that is brighter, cleaner and greener, in which we have greater energy resilience and security, and which is less dependent on a few big companies as the sole providers of energy.

“I share the Scottish Government’s vision of a future in which communities are empowered in every sense of the word – not just politically, but economically – and are able to invest in and develop their own community assets and opportunities.

The motion also highlighted the work of the Scottish Community Energy Coalition in promoting community renewables.

Local Energy Scotland, part of the Scottish Community Energy Coalition, has development officers based across Scotland who are able to meet with interested communities and groups considering community projects.

Local Energy Scotland Project Manager Chris Morris said: “Community Energy Fortnight 2015 is a great reason for community groups across the Highlands and Islands to talk about some of the successful and innovative renewables projects we have in the local area.

“We provide free advice and can outline what support is available for any community groups who would like to learn more about community renewables, whether it’s hydro, wind, solar, biomass or another innovative community idea.”

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