By DARA BUTTERFIELD
The Urras Energy co-operative has raised more than £700,000 in community share investment to build two new wind turbines for the scheme at Ballantrushal on the Isle of Lewis.
Urras Energy has exceeded its original target of £600,000 to pay for the two 900kW turbines to be constructed next to a turbine that was installed at the site in December 2013.
While the co-operative has not yet announced when construction will begin on the turbines, it is expected that together the three turbines will generate enough power for 1,400 homes.
The wind farm is on the community-owned Galson Estate on the Isle of Lewis. The wind turbines will be built, owned and operated by Galson Energy as a subsidiary of Urras Energy. Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn – as community landowner – will receive net profits to invest locally.
One turbine has already been installed and is operating well, so Urras Energy is now pressing ahead with Phase 2 which will comprise a further two 900kW Enercon E44 turbines similar to the existing turbine.
All three turbines will be owned by Urras Energy, the prime aim of which is to benefit the Galson Estate community but investors will receive a maximum of 6% per year.
The three turbines are expected to provide in the order of £300,000 annually over the first 10 years and significantly in excess of that each year during its second 10 year period (after commercial loans are repaid) for community regeneration within the Galson Estate.
A Power Purchase Agreement for the sale of the electricity generated from the existing turbine has been set up with a licensed electricity supplier, Co-operative Energy.
The Directors of Urras Energy are:
Agnes Rennie, Chairman: A director of the Clan Macquarrie Community Centre. She is the manager of a book publishing company and previously worked as a self-employed development consultant. She is a former councillor and active crofter.
Carola Bell, Deputy Chairman; She is director of the local community leisure facility, Sporsnis, Chairman of Community Energy Scotland and a director of Western Isles Development Trust.
Norman Thomson: a former director of Sporsnis and former treasurer of the Islands’ Book Trust, he trained as a mechanical engineer and is a retired oil industry senior project and commercial manager with over 30 years’ experience in fabrication and engineering operations.