New Borders wind farm is first in Britain to generate funds to build 500 new homes for social housing

Helen Forsyth (Berwickshire Housing Association) is pictured with Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse (left) and Nick Gubbins (Community Energy Scotland) at the new wind farm. (Photography: Tara Grey)
Helen Forsyth (Berwickshire Housing Association) is pictured with Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse (left) and Nick Gubbins (Community Energy Scotland) at the new wind farm. (Photography: Tara Grey)

A new wind farm in the Borders is to create enough revenue for Berwickshire Housing Association to build 500 new homes over next 25 years.

The UK’s first wind farm to be developed by a housing association as a means of funding new homes for social rental has been launched Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse, MSP.

The Hoprigshiels community windfarm – officially named “Fishermen Three” – is located near Cockburnspath in the Borders and is a joint venture between Berwickshire Housing Association (BHA) and Community Energy Scotland. 

By supplying energy to the National Grid, the wind farm will create revenue for BHA of around £20 million over the next 25 years – enough to allow them to build 500 new homes over that period. 

Community Energy Scotland’s £10 million share of the revenue will enable it to support communities across the country to develop and benefit from renewable energy projects and play a crucial part in building a greener energy system.

The three-turbine scheme will have an installed capacity of 7.5MW and will export just under 25 million kilowatt-hours each year – enough energy to power around 5,900 households.  The wind farm project has been supported by Triodos Bank and the Renewable Energy Investment Fund.

Helen Forsyth, Chief Executive, Berwickshire Housing Association, said: “The idea for the wind farm came when we 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 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.

“This is not our only application of renewable energy; it is part of a whole approach and attitude at BHA that includes fitting 700 homes with PV solar panels and investing in new heating systems that reduce fuel bills for our tenants.”

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