First the most important news.
As of Tuesday 28th October the turbine is in place and the construction phase is completed!
It is expected that the final commissioning will be complete in the next couple of weeks and that electricity (and income) will start to be generated. Second, this website is being given a slight revamp, now that we are entering a more settled phase, as and when the new editor gets to grips with the technology. If you are looking for the posts on the share issue fundraising, they have been compacted to a historical page here. Posts on the construction have been moved to pages under turbine construction.
Four months since the public launch of the Islay Energy Community Benefit Society Ltd (IECBS), members gathered on 13th May for the first AGM of the Society. Jenni Minto, Secretary IECBS, introduced the meeting, saying “The proposal was to raise funds towards the Community Wind Turbine through a community share offer. It felt like a very big ask, but when the offer closed we had reached the fabulous total of £535k”. No less than 80% of the investors are from Islay, Jura and Colonsay which reflects the support from within the community.
The main objective of the meeting was to elect a new Board of Directors to replace the original three Founder Directors who stood down. There can be a total of ten Directors, including three representing the Board of Islay Energy Trust. With 14 people putting their names forward, there was a wealth of talent and experience to choose from. The new Board are Isabel Coughlin, Scott Currie, Donald Ewen Darroch, Mairead MacKechnie, Ken McLean, Margaret Rozga and John Trawber. They are joined by George Dean, Jenni Minto and Malcolm Ogilvie, as the IET appointees.
Once the formal business of the AGM was concluded, Colin Anderson, Project Manager, explained the timeline of the construction process for the turbine, illustrating his presentation with pictures from the recently installed fourth Gigha turbine, the same model Enercon E33, as the community turbine for Islay. He said that we could have “bragging rights” over Gigha, because our turbine will be considerably taller, the height of the one of Gigha being constrained by planning constraints. It is also predicted that ours will generate more electricity as being on a windier site.
ISLAY’S COMMUNITY WIND PROJECT WILL BE A TRAILBLAZER IN SCOTLAND
The Islay Community Wind Project is at the forefront of a growing trend in social investment. Islay is set to join a group of Scottish island communities including Gigha, Mull, Tiree, Barra, South Uist and Westray, all of which are establishing a more sustainable, socio-economic future through the exploitation of renewable energy resources using local enterprise. Community projects on some of these islands are already generating hundreds of thousands of pounds of profits every year. What makes the Islay Project different is that it will be one of the first community-owned wind projects in Scotland to be part-financed through a community benefit society share offer.
On 14th January, the Islay Energy Community Benefit Society (IECBS) will launch its share offer with the objective of raising up to £750,000 to finance a 330kW wind turbine. When operational, the Project is expected to yield financial benefits for the community of £60-80,000 p.a., or up to £2.5million over the 20-year life of the project (allowing for inflation). The money will be re-invested in the community: developing other renewables projects, providing relief from fuel poverty and awarding grants to local voluntary and charitable organisations. Investors (priority will be given to residents of Islay, Jura and Colonsay) should receive annual interest of 4-5% on their shares.
Jenni Minto, Secretary of IECBS, said: “We have now reached a significant milestone after 5 years of determined, patient and resilient development work by the Islay Energy Trust (IET). The share offer is an exciting opportunity for the many people who know and love the islands of Islay, Jura and Colonsay to make a social investment in a locally-owned project which will generate benefits for these communities. The more money raised through the share offer, the less that will have to be borrowed from the banks.”
Other European countries have a well developed tradition of community-owned enterprises, particularly in the renewable energy sector. In Denmark and Germany, 86% and 56% respectively of electricity generation from wind comes from locally and community-owned enterprises. In Scotland it is a mere 3%, but increasing with funding help from the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Big Lottery and others, and technical assistance from Community Energy Scotland. Above all, it is the initiative and enterprise generated by members of local communities that enable local economies to keep a greater share of benefits from the exploitation of renewable resources, and thus contribute to a more sustainable future, in particular for fragile island economies.
Lindy MacLellan, Ken McLean, Jenni Minto Founder Members, Islay Energy Community Benefit Society
Tel: 01496 301413
For more information, visit http://www.islayenergycbs.com