Berwickshire Housing Association with Community Energy Scotland have built three wind turbines to provide electricity which they can sell to the national grid and then use the funds to build affordable housing in an area of scattered communities and low wages. I was born in Berwickshire and lived in a post-war ‘prefab’, so I’m doubly pleased to hear of this. This quote from the Guardian makes a very interesting comparative statement:
‘The ground-breaking initiative is being hailed as a breakthrough in a distinctly different political climate from that in England. “What is happening here is a ‘first’ – relieving housing pressure by harnessing the wind for the benefit of everyone,” enthused Scotland’s energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse. Social housebuilding is actively supported by the Scottish government. Unlike its Westminster counterpart, it has ended the sale of public housing in “right-to-buy” schemes, once seen as the late Margaret Thatcher’s enduring legacy. It is pumping more money into affordable housing. And, unlike in England, Wheelhouse insists that onshore windfarms are similarly supported rather than discouraged, in a drive to ramp up generation from renewable sources.’
The other projects supported by Community Energy Scotland include:
- The Isle of Gighain Argyll which boasts Scotland’s first community-owned wind farm. Three Vestas V27 turbines on the south end of the island are capable of generating 750 kW of electricity.
- Westray, one of the northernOrkney islands, which runs a vehicle using recycled bio-diesel and whose parish church is an ‘eco-congregation’.
- Knoydart, a peninsula inLochaber which runs a micro hydro-electric
- Unstin Shetland which is home to the PURE hydrogen fuel research project.
- Findhornin Moray which is building an eco-village and has recently launched a UN-accredited CIFAL sustainability training centre.
- The island ofEigg is undertaking a £1.3 million electrification project, part funded by HICEC. This combination of installed solar, wind and hydro power should provide a network that is self-sufficient and powered 98% from renewable sources.
- In early 2008 theNorth Harris Trust received planning consent for three 86 metre (282 ft) wind turbines to be located at Monan. David Cameron, a director of the Trust said: “It will substantially reduce our carbon emissions and it will help North Harris re-establish itself as a thriving, vibrant community”.
Projects such as these along with the Scottish government’s social housing projects (see links below) are all-the-more significant given the loss of lifetime secure tenancies in England and the historical loss of social housing to the right-to-buy scheme since reversed by the Scottish Government. Berwickshire Housing Association had lost 450 homes to the scheme in an area where there are 50 people chasing each home.