ALTHOUgh still awaiting planning approval for their first community windfarm, Berwickshire Housing Association have now received a £124,000 government loan for a second renewable energy scheme.
‘The Berwickshire News’ reported earlier this year that the Duns-based organisation were aiming to become the first housing association in the UK to develop their own windfarm, with the chosen location being Hoprigshiels near Cockburnspath.
If approved, all profits from the three turbine farm will go towards building affordable houses as well as contributing to charitable organisations.
BHA’s application is due to be discussed by Scottish Borders Council planners in the coming months and the association are hoping that officials will take the same stance as local residents, with a survey carried out a few months ago suggesting that the majority (63 per cent) were in favour of the proposals.
Some 63 per cent of households within a six mile radius of the development said they wouldn’t oppose the turbines and although a location has yet to be pinpointed for the second windfarm, the housing association hope residents will realise the benefits of such a scheme to the wider community.
BHA chief executive, Helen Forsyth commented: “We are delighted that Scottish Government has awarded us a development loan of £124,000 to develop a further renewable energy wind scheme in the near future.
“Once again, this will be a community wind farm and any income from it would be used to develop new homes or upgrade our present homes. The money is specifically for the development of the project and is repayable should the project receive planning permission and go ahead.
“Whilst no specific site has been identified at this time, we are looking at a number of alternatives and it is not planned that any development would be in the Lammermuir Hills or within the vicinity of the windfarm we have proposed at Hoprigshiels which is presently being considered by the planning authority.
“This loan award is a great opportunity for us to bring in further secure income to build new homes and upgrade our present homes without spending tenants’ money to do so.
“We are delighted that the Government have given us this opportunity and we hope we can use the loan to bring major benefits to our local communities.”
BHA’s second windfarm was one of 32 wind turbine projects to receive a loan from the Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme twards pre-planning costs.
A total of 42 projects will benefit from the funding, totalling £3.9 million, one other being a 0.3MW wind project by Dunbar Community Energy Company which received a £66,000 loan.