Berwickshire Housing Association and partners Community Energy Scotland were highly commended at the British Renewable Energy Awards in London last week.
The two bodies joined forces to create The Fishermen Three wind farm near Cockburnspath, the first wind farm in the UK to be developed by a housing association as a means of funding news homes for social rental, and it was this innovation that attracted the attention of judges.
The British Renewable Energy Awards recognise the achievements of companies and individuals who have contributed significantly in the fields of renewables or clean tech over the past year. BHA and CES were highly commended in the community category, which rewards groups or organisations who have been active in developing a renewable energy project in their local area.
The wind farm was officially opened in March this year and by supplying energy to the National Grid, it should create revenue around £20 million over the next 25 years for the housing association – enough to allow them to build 500 new homes in Berwickshire during the wind farm’s lifespan.
Community Energy Scotland will use its £10 million share to support communities across the country to develop and benefit from renewable energy projects.
Helen Forsyth, chief executive of Berwickshire Housing Association said: “Renewable energy is something that is extremely important to us at BHA – it is part of the ethos and attitude of the organisation - so I’m really delighted to have been highly commended at these prestigious awards.
“Innovation is something else that is close to our hearts. The idea for the wind farm came about because we needed to keep building new homes for social rental at a time when funding through traditional channels was in decline.
“Some outside-the-box thinking eventually led to our wind farm, which will provide us with a steady, predictable source of income to allow us to build much-needed new homes, and has the added bonus of reducing carbon emissions.
“The wind farm is not our only application of renewable energy; we are also in the process of fitting 700 of our homes with PV solar panels.”