Supported by an innovative funding approach, a renewables project in South Lanarkshire is set to generate enough energy to power thousands of homes and a new source of income for the local community.
Stewart Energy Ltd, a joint venture by Andrew Stewart and Lesmahagow Development Trust (LDT), has developed a three turbine wind farm near the village of Lesmahagow with support from the Scottish Investment Bank’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF).
REIF provided a £1.63 million funding package to the wind farm, securing a 25% stake in the project for the Trust. The scheme’s innovative ownership and funding structure is believed to be the first of its kind in Scotland.
Winds of change
When the turbines are connected to the National Grid they will be capable of generating 3.9 MW - enough electricity to power 3,000 homes.
They will also deliver a turnover of £1.4 million annually for the next 25 years, enabling the Trust to fund a wide range of community initiatives that will deliver greener homes and renovate unused buildings. These initiatives could include:
The Trust is looking at a number of projects that will boost economic development and make Lesmahagow a better place to live. It would have been easy to sell out to an investor, but the establishment of REIF ensures the whole village shares in the wind farm’s success.
Andrew Stewart, founder of Stewart Energy
- Sports grounds
- Play parks
- Community child care facilities
- Employability schemes
The turbines are based on Marshill Farm, a 700 acre dairy farm owned by Andrew Stewart, founder of Stewart Energy Ltd.
Andrew said: “My family has been farming in the local area for over 100 years. We’ve been on this land for a long time – that’s why we were so keen to secure community involvement.
“I’m extremely proud of the benefits that the wind farm will deliver to the local community. The Trust is looking at a number of projects that will boost economic development and make Lesmahagow a better place to live.
“It would have been easy to sell out to an investor, but the establishment of REIF ensures the whole village shares in the wind farm’s success.”
Planning for the future
Liz Montgomery, Director of the Lesmahagow Development Trust, added: “We plan to establish a grant stream for small organisations and recruit a development officer with the skills to progress Trust projects. He or she will also be available to everyone in the village.
“We wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for the investment from the Scottish Enterprise REIF fund.”
“The turbines will have a huge impact on the farm,”
Andrew added: “They take up just three acres of a 700 acre farm but will generate more revenue than the rest of the land.
“Our plan is to keep adding to the business and create new jobs. Farm prices are volatile but the turbines will create a secure income stream for the next 25 years.”
Andrew Smith, Head of REIF, said: “This is an excellent example of how with the right tailored support mechanisms such as REIF, small scale local renewable energy projects can have a positive impact on communities and help boost their economic prospects.”
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