Scottish Borders community wind farm to generate more than electricity – £20 million revenue to build 500 affordable home over 25 years



The three-turbine wind-farm located near Cockburnpath, named ‘The Fishermen Three’, which began production this year is expected to raise £20 million in revenue over the next 25 years. This will be in addition to its obvious role in generating 25 million kwh each year to power nearly 6 000 homes.

£10 million will go support further community-based renewable energy projects and the remainder will be used to build 500 homes over the period in an area short of homes for young, less affluent families in the area. There are more than 61 000 second or holiday homes in Scotland. I couldn’t find figures for Berwickshire but I feel sure it is a popular area for such use.

Scottish Borders currently has a predicted shortage of 8350 homes while the Berwickshire area around Cockburnpath requires 1503.…/id/…/empty_homes_strategy_2012-17.p



15 thoughts on “Scottish Borders community wind farm to generate more than electricity – £20 million revenue to build 500 affordable home over 25 years

  1. macgilleleabhar October 6, 2017 / 3:20 pm

    Wow!! We certainly need many more community owned projects like this. Would community owned projects be eligible for National Investment Bank finance?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. johnrobertson834 October 6, 2017 / 3:22 pm

    I think the hope is that the National Bank would lead to/set-up (?) not-for-profit regional ‘People’s Banks’ which would invest in local communities and businesses.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ludo Thierry October 6, 2017 / 5:54 pm

    Hi John and Mac – and any of the AllStars who visit.

    This community project is a fantastic example to everyone of what can be achieved – even within the current abominable constitutional set-up. An example of moving beyond the current real constitutional limitations by daring to imagine a better scotland and finding a (very) clever way to start bringing that new Scotland into reality (a bit) right here and right now.

    Richard Murphy reports today that he felt his attendance at COSLA had been useful and his ideas about NIB and local investment mechanisms well received. Reports he believes he will be visiting quite a bit more – which is good news. He seemed to be pushing the idea of Local Authority bonds as a major contribution to the funding mechanisms of the NIB (and regional associates). See below:

    It is a long time since I first wrote about the merits, as I saw them, of local authority bonds as the basis for local investment and, as importantly, local savings and pensions. That campaigning journey began in February 2003 with a New Economics Foundation publication entitled People’s Pensions. The idea has been revisited since, including in a 2010 publication called Making Pensions Work. Both were co-authored with Colin Hines.
    I think it fair to say that the idea got a warm reception at the COSLA conference yesterday.

    The reality is that there are savings in every community. And as I have long argued, many savings are literally wasted. Banks do not need deposits to lend. Pension saving in second hand bits of paper – which is a fair description of what most shares are – adds nothing to real economic activity. But a local authority that provides a bond mechanism for local saving does something quite different. What it does is keep local money in the local community to provide local employment to create local assets that underpin local services for the benefit of local people, now and in the future, who have in turn provided the local money to deliver this local outcome.

    In the process they exploit what might appropriately be called, in economic terms, the local multiplier. Especially in areas of need the more money that can be kept circulating within, rather escaping out of, the local economy the more likely it is that local economic regeneration will occur.

    In this way local bonds have to be seen as local investment, and not local borrowing.

    I would stress that I am not saying local authority bonds solve all local authority funding issues because they clearly do not. But let me contextualise this. Theresa May offered 5,000 new council houses a year this week. Proportionately that would put 400 of those in Scotland. I am not saying that is insignificant. I am saying that this only scratches the surface of need. And that, for starters, doing more on this is a perfect use for local authority bond finance.

    There will be other more adventurous uses too: energy is the obvious next sector.

    Looks like this Berwickshire ‘The Fishermen Three’ project is very much in this mould. Here’s hoping this model sparks a whole lot more similar activity.

    Ta, Ludo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alasdair Macdonald October 7, 2017 / 9:19 am

      Ludo, I had, many years ago, a colleague who had been a Conservative cooncillor is the Dunbar area (I don’t think he was called ‘Conservative’ at the time; I think the term ‘Progressive’ might have been used.) He was quite a swashbuckling character, but was a very humane person and a doughty fighter against unfairness. I think he was a Tory for historic and class reasons rather than for ideological ones, because he was considerably more distributive than other colleagues who considered themselves ‘radical’. He was a strong advocate of local authority bonds for the funding of local projects. In fact, he was pretty ‘localist’ in attitudes.

      From Antony Crosland onwards, Westminster, whether under Tories or Labour continually reduced the powers of local authorities and squeezed their powers to raise funds. This, indeed, continued at Holyrood, under the SNP, although things like the Community Empowerment Act and bits of land reform legislation indicate a change in approach. Greens, LibDems and even Labour (Scottish cost centre) are beginning in various degrees to make the right kind of noises. However, these are still substantially ‘noises’ rather than actions and collaboration, and we still get the pathetic jibes from Wee Wullie and ‘the SNP are pure basturts’ from the old lags in Holyrood who are all sponsoring Anas Sarwar. However, I think at Council level there has been a substantial turnover in personnel within the party once known as Labour who have a different approach.

      It takes time for most of us to change the hegemonic paradigms under which people like me have lived for most of our lives and begin to see things differently. I am probably showing my age when I use a term like ‘gestalt shift’, but I think we are in such a process and once the change gets underway people in the wide begin to become more creative. I think this is what we are seeing in many ways across Scotland, whether in community buyouts, in schemes like the one described above, in the kinds of creativity being shown in Scotland’s universities, in music and the arts.


  4. Ludo Thierry October 6, 2017 / 6:41 pm

    Hi John and the co-stars. Am I right in recalling umpteen Labour north britain accounting unit types (including the current ‘leadership’ contenders) banging on incessantly regarding Scotland being a ‘one-party state’, a ‘dictatorship’, ‘not a real democracy’, ‘anti -democratic’, ‘like North Korea’ and many similar epithets?

    Did you notice, today, the appointment of the new Chair of Scottish Fire and Rescue? – Pat Watters’ term has come to an end (after 5 yrs I believe). As far as I can judge Pat Watters’ seems to have been pretty effective in the role. (His long years as a labour cooncilor and labour Chair of COSLA didn’t seem to stop the SNP Scottish Govt from appointing him – because they felt he could do the job well).

    His successor is Kirsty Darwent (previously Depute Chair and experienced from quite a few boards and public bodies).

    Kirsty Darwent was (until earlier this year) a Labour (noth british accounting unit) cooncilor in South Ayrshire. (Until 2017 there was a minority north british Tory administration with a ‘working agreement’ with north brit Labour (including a north brit lab Provost) running that council. In her declaration on recent political activity Kirsty Darwent reported being active during the Indyref (something – I’m not sure what – but – ‘something’ tells me Kirsty was probably active with the Better Together campaign?).

    I’m perfectly prepared to believe that Kirsty Darwent can do the job – and has been judged by the appointment body and Minister of having the best qualifications for the post. That is all I ask.

    So – here we have a major post in the Scottish public policy firmament being given to 2 active north brit labour politicians in succession (appointed by an SNP Scottish Govt).

    Do you think we’ll hear anyone -ANYONE – from the north brit Labour tribe comment on the commendable oecumenism being demonstrated by the SNP Scottish Govt (simply looking for qualified people who’ll do a good job – whatever their political beliefs)? – No – nor me.

    Mind how you go now – Ludo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. David Howdle October 6, 2017 / 9:08 pm

    Very inspiring. How does a very small community begin to make a start on a project like this?

    Liked by 2 people

      • David Howdle October 7, 2017 / 10:02 am

        Thanks. By coincidence I’ve just been listening to a Lesley Riddoch podcast (Feisty Productions “Catalonia and Conference Special”in case anyone wants to find it). There was a piece in it about community work done by local Strontian volunteers to harness wind power and build a new primary school! Amazing. Forming a local development company seems to be a good start.

        Liked by 2 people

    • macgilleleabhar October 7, 2017 / 9:21 am

      It is inspiring isn’t it? Also the mention of Community Councils. A local village hospital support group tried to get planning permission for a wind turbine but were blocked by landowners and Aberdeenshire planners.
      Glasgow may have a better opportunity for community projects now that the dead hand of the Unionists is losing its grip.
      The “Narrative” of Scotland has to be changed from the depressing daily sludge of the of the corporate media to a progressive positive account of possibilities and achievements.
      Thank you Professor John for leading the way.
      Rant over.


      • johnrobertson834 October 8, 2017 / 11:36 am

        Thanks Mac. I don’t feel like a leader. More a stimulator? Does that sound pervy?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. David Howdle October 7, 2017 / 10:59 am

    Apologies. The podcast I was listening to was “The millionaire and the millions”.


    • johnrobertson834 October 8, 2017 / 11:37 am

      Thanks for this David. Contributions like yours enhance the original piece by me. Making it the public sphericle!


  7. johnrobertson834 October 8, 2017 / 11:39 am

    We get an average of around 2 000 readers per day so our thoughts are getting somewhere especially if they then share further. Most the site has had was 9 700 a month ago.

    Liked by 1 person

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