Feb 8, 2010

Ardrishaig Regeneration to be Wind Powered

Lomond Energy and local family partnership Allt Dearg Wind Farmers are delighted that the Ardrishaig Community has decided by an overwhelming majority to join in the development of a new wind farm in South Knapdale, Argyll.

The community wide postal ballot was carried out last December; 86% of the votes cast were in favour of Ardrishaig taking a stake in the wind farm. The net revenue expected to be enjoyed by Ardrishaig over the 25 year life of the wind farm is £ 3 -4 million. It is intended that this income will be used to underpin wider funding for the ambitious village regeneration scheme, which will transform the rundown sea front and canal entrance area, bringing life, visitors, investment and prosperity into an attractive new village centre.

The formal planning application for the wind farm has recently (3rd February) been submitted to Argyll and Bute Council. James Lithgow of Ormsary is confident that the new proposal will be widely supported. A much larger wind farm previously proposed by a multi-national utility developer was turned down by Councillors in late 2007. Control of the site then reverted to the indigenous landowners, the Broadfoot and Lithgow families. With a limited budget, the owners were determined that the development could be scaled down and redesigned to meet the previous concerns over visual impact, whilst remaining technically and commercially viable. With the help of Lomond Energy, a husband andwife team who specialise in smaller scale locally owned wind developments, the Estates came up with a scheme using fewer and smaller turbines, which was positively received locally, resulting in an approach from the Ardrishaig Community Trust.

The vote has cleared the way for Ardrishaig to become a partner in the project, and the Ardrishaig Community Trust is now working hard with various agencies, including Community Energy Scotland, to progress the commercial issues.

James Lithgow said “This is a very exciting opportunity. Diversification into new opportunities is essential to sustain a vibrant community. At Allt Dearg we are able to harness the available natural resources for the maximum social and economic benefit of our community, whilst making the clean power that we all need”. “We are confident that the Allt Dearg Community Wind Farm is now the right development, in the right place, to the right scale and with the right local ownership and control, delivering the right mix of environmental, social and local economic benefits”.

Edward Laughton, of The Ardrishaig Community Trust said “As a keen sailor I know we can get plenty of wet and windy days in Loch Fyne, it will be nice to know that our turbine is not only generating green electricity, but also helping to regenerate our public spaces and village centre in Ardrishaig”.

The wind farm is expected to begin generating power in mid 2013.

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