Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has formally switched on the Harlaw Hydro community turbine at Balerno village, Edinburgh.
The event marked the culmination of six years of planning, fundraising and managing by the community. Harlaw Hydro is a community benefit society owned by 250 community shareholders who together have invested £400,000. The project has not received any public grants.
The Balerno Village Trust was set up to generate income for projects that support the development of a more sustainable community. The profits generated by selling power to the grid will be used to benefit the local community.
It is anticipated that over 20 years of guaranteed income from the Feed-in Tariff, more than £1 million will flow in to the area.
Martin Petty, chairman of Harlaw Hydro Ltd said: “At its peak water in the Water of Leith valley powered 70 water wheels. It was the main source of power for industry in west Edinburgh. To see some of that power being harnessed as green energy and also generating revenue for the community is wonderful.”
Ewing commented: “Community energy is a key priority for the Scottish Government. It provides an opportunity to spread the benefits, and our support for community projects reflects their importance in empowering communities to take control of their local resources. The Harlaw project is a great example of this and I want to congratulate all involved for making this happen.”