Wind farm profit will help build Berwickshire houses

Helen Forsyth, chief executive of BHA and Nicholas Gubbins, chief executive of Community Energy Scotland see the first foundations of Hoprigshiels community windfarm taking .
Helen Forsyth, chief executive of BHA and Nicholas Gubbins, chief executive of Community Energy Scotland see the first foundations of Hoprigshiels community windfarm taking .

Work has started on Hoprigshiels wind farm which could help pay for 20 affordable homes a year to be built in Berwickshire for the next 25 years,

Sited near Cockburnspath Hoprigshiels is Scotland’s first wind farm to be developed through a partnership of two charities - Berwickshire Housing Association and Community Energy Scotland who have created a joint venture company, Berwickshire Community Renewables.

A financing package has been completed for the three turbine development, the foundations for the turbines are now in, the turbines have been ordered and completion and commissions is expected towards the end of this year.

The wind farm will supply electricity to the national grid over a 25 year period and the revenues from the sale of power will help support the charities’ social purposes.

Helen Forsyth, chief executive of Berwickshire Housing Association said: “We are absolutely delighted that we have been able to see the construction of the wind farm start on site at Hoprigshiels. 

“The revenue generated by the wind farm will enable the association to build around 20 homes a year for the next 25 years. Working with an experienced community wind farm developer like Community Energy Scotland has been a great experience for us and we couldn’t have done this without them.”

Nicholas Gubbins, chief executive of Community Energy Scotland added: “Having helped many community groups install their own renewable energy projects over the last eight years, it’s fantastic that we now have our own project underway – and it’s even better that we have done this in partnership with another like-minded charity.”

The project has been financed by Triodos Bank and the Scottish Investment Bank’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF). Andrew Smith, head of REIF said: “This is exactly the type of project REIF was set up to support.

“This is a strong commercial investment opportunity allowing REIF to help deliver a project of significant scale.

“It is the first housing association deal that REIF has been able to be part of. Significant social and economic outputs will be achieved using the surpluses from the scheme and importantly, all the income from this project will be used for social or charitable purposes.”

Norrie Cruickshank, of Triodos Bank who are financing the project said: “We are delighted to have provided loan finance to this exciting project developed by BHA and CES. It allows for the progress of much needed affordable housing within the area and giving local communities the opportunity to develop various renewable energy schemes.”