Highlanders aim to generate £1.75m for community projects from village wind farm, while Lowlanders aim for £1.9m target

'Varuna' - the 500kW turbine
The ‘Varuna’ small-wind turbine

A Scottish community-owned company is aiming to raise £1.75 million by issuing bonds in the 500-kW wind turbine it owns on the A Chòigeach peninsula north of Ullapool.

The Coigach Community plan to use the new funding will be used to refinance the wind turbine asset and enable the company to donate its retained profits to fund a variety of community projects.

The turbine – christened ‘Varuna’ – was commissioned in 2017 with the aim of providing a source of new renewable energy and a regular income stream to support the community.

Over the next 20 years, Coigach Community expects to generate surpluses of around £4.4 million after paying operating and finance costs.

A Chòigeach parish (English: Coigach) has a declining population currently of around 260 residents and faces many challenges common to such remote communities including; a lack of affordable housing, decreasing levels of health provision and a fragile economy over-reliant on the traditional industries of crofting, fisheries and seasonal tourism.

The turbine began operating in March 2017 and benefits from the UK government’s Feed-in-Tariff scheme which guarantees inflation protected income for 20 years. It has generated over 800,000 kWh of clean energy to date.

Meanwhile, Mongoose Energy and Our Power have partnered to launch a new community organisation dedicated to harnessing the power from two Scottish community-owned wind power projects to offer cheaper electricity to those most in need.

The wind farms –  based in Pogbie, East Lothian and in Brockholes, Berwickshire – will be seeking to raise £2.8 million to fund the projects, across both bond and equity offers, with all surplus profits – an estimated £1,900,000 over 25 years – invested into helping alleviate fuel poverty in Scotland.

This effort aims to reduce the number of people who have to spend more than 10 per cent of their household income just to keep their houses heated to a basic level.

22 Mar 2018

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