We’re absolutely thrilled that that the Bespoke Community Wind Turbine project has won Best Community Project at the 2021 Scottish Green Energy Awards.
It’s been a long road, but ultimately a successful one, resulting in a project, maybe the last FiT accredited one, that will benefit the community for many years to come.
Read below about the trials and tribulations, and eventual huge success, of this Locogen project. We stuck with it, and so did the community of the Bespoke Community Development Trust and the folk of this community to the south of Falkirk.
Well done everyone!
Bespoke Community Development Company (Bespoke CDC) is a community owned and operated organisation in Falkirk. Founded in 2011, Bespoke’s mission is to engage the community with the great outdoors – whether that be on foot, bike or horseback – for purposes of health, recreation and learning. The community group first had the idea of a wind turbine development in 2012. They approached the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) for funding and were within the first tranche of applications for the scheme. Luckily, they benefitted from the development grant and loan funding to pursue the project. However, it wasn’t quite that simple. The Greencraig community wind turbine in Lionthorn had to successfully overcome seemingly endless obstacles during the 8+ years it took to develop.
The challenges included:
•5 iterations in planning since 2012. The development was subject to many reductions to the Feed-in Tariff (FiT)incentive which meant that the size of the turbine had to be continually increased to make the project financially feasible.
•Restructuring the Community Interest Company(CIC) formed by Locogen, Green Cat Renewables and Bespoke CDC to finance the project and spread economic risk. The structure stands as 40% Locogen, 40% GreenCat Renewables and 20% Bespoke.
•Reaching the final FiT deadline in March 2019.
•Adhering to COVID-19 restrictions during construction.
Michael Matheson, MSP for Falkirk West and Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, opening the Bespoke turbine for the community on Friday 30th of July
Michael was joined by: Andrew Lyle – Locogen, David Bennet – Bespoke Community Development Company, Gavin Catto – Green Cat Renewables, Jonathan Hagger – EWT, Guy Wedderburn – Callendar Estates and Chris Morris – Local Energy Scotland
The wind turbine was finally commissioned on Thursday 08/04/2021as a 900kW EWT marking the culmination of an almost decade-long journey to achieve this initial aim. The project will:
•Help Bespoke CDC engage the community with the great outdoors. This project will allow Bespoke to continue developing and maintaining off-road paths and trails to encourage green travel for individuals and families. So far, Bespoke has maintained and upgraded over 60km of paths and trails.
•Generate green electricity for over 30 years. This project will generate ~55.4GWh of renewable electricity over its projected lifetime, offsetting >15K tonnes of CO2. Annually, that equates to approximately 2860MWh –enough to power 715 homes.
•Generate up to £1.2m in community benefit payments over the 30-year life of the project, including an additional £25,000 payment which was given to Bespoke CDC once the project was commissioned. In addition, this could be the last turbine in the UK to be commissioned with a FiT accreditation. The FiT scheme was a game changer for onshore wind up to 5MW – a scale that saw a huge number of community groups benefit from these projects. Hence how fitting it would be if this were the last FiT accredited turbine, given its huge benefit to the community.
Bespoke creating and maintaining paths and trails
What they said:
“I know the Greencraig Wind Turbine will be of great benefit to the local community for years to come, and ultimately help contribute to Scotland meeting climate change targets.” Michael Matheson, MSP for Falkirk West and Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport
“This is a great example of how shared ownership schemes can work well, using the strengths of both community groups and private developers. This project could not have been delivered without both the community group and the private developers working closely together. The FiT scheme has been huge for onshore wind and an important part of the work we’ve done at Locogen. The scheme winds down to a close as Bespoke starts to turn and we’re particularly pleased that this last FiT project is one that benefits the community.” Andrew Lyle, CEO of Locogen Ltd
“We’re thankful for Locogen’s indefatigability and positive approach over many years working on the project and we’re delighted to see the turbine finally commissioned and benefitting the community.” Dave Bennet of Bespoke Community Development Company