Glenfarg Renewable Energy Association faqs

What is Glenfarg Renewable Energy Association and why was is set up?

Glenfarg Renewable Energy Association GREA was set up by members of the Glenfarg community. Its aim is to promote renewable energy for the benefit of the village and surrounding area. It was set up in response to the Glenfarg Conversation – a survey in which local residents expressed views as to issues of local importance. Among these issues was renewable energy and energy conservation.

Why does GREA not concentrate on other forms of renewables rather than wind?

The first thing that GREA did was to arrange an Energy Awareness Day which focussed on the help available for reducing energy bills. Next, GREA undertook a study to look at the opportunities for hydro power. This study can be viewed at www.glenfarg.org. Despite a lot of hard work, the hydro opportunities have proved difficult to take further. This does not mean that GREA has no interest in hydro as a renewable. On the contrary, it is likely, in the future, to merit further work – as will photo-voltaic (solar) power. For the present, however, GREA has decided that the best opportunity lies in a community owned wind turbine. We have a site, a grid connection offer and a project which shows a good return for the community

What are the benefits of a community-owned wind turbine?

There are two key benefits. The first is that it is possible to generate sufficient renewable electricity to offset all the electricity consumed by the village and surrounding area. This means that we can be proud to be part of a greener community. The second benefit is financial. The power generated will be sold into the national grid and will earn money. Part of this money will be required to pay the cost of financing the turbine - but the profit will be available for distribution for community benefit.

How much money will the wind turbine make?

As we do not yet know the detailed costs or the selling price (or Feed in Tariff) of the electricity it is not possible to give a precise figure at this time. However, it will be a substantial amount. Over the 25 year life of the turbine it could earn as much as £1m to £2m for our community.

What will this money be spent on?

This is for the community to decide. The Glenfarg Community Council is already thinking about the best way to develop a vision for our community. This will involve a great deal of public consultation and engagement. As far as the money itself is concerned, this will be managed for the community by an independent trust (such as Foundation Scotland - which does this kind of thing for a large number of communities throughout Scotland). Local people will decide on the investment of the money - much as in the case of the Lochelbank Wind Farm.

Where will the turbine be?

The turbine will be located at Jubilee Plantation about 2.5 km south west of the village. It will be behind the pylons and beyond the crest of the hill.

Will the wind turbine get the go ahead?

The turbine will be built on land owned by the Forestry Commission Scotland FCS. FCS invited interests in developing renewable energy at Jubilee Plantation, and GREA made an expression of interest. A site would be made available for lease through the National Forest Land Scheme.
A planning application will be made shortly. One of the key issues for determination will be the cumulative impact of the proposal when taken together with other wind turbines - both existing and proposed. Community benefit will help to offset some of the impact of the Glenfarg turbine. The photomontage image provided is purely indicative and the final location and scale will only be determined once all environmental surveys have been completed. All visualisations, including cumulative ones showing any other turbines, will be shown in the planning application and will be available for all to see. Both the visual and residential amenity impact will form part of the planning submission, and will be assessed by experts within Perth and Kinross Council. Noise will also be assessed in detail by the Council, but the impact will be minimised as the proposed location is 700m from the nearest property.

Once the proposal receives planning consent, fund raising can begin. This will require a Community Benefit Company (Bencom) to be set up. There will be an opportunity for local share ownership and hopefully, this attract many local investors thus maximising the stake that the community has in the venture. However, it is not necessary for Glenfarg to raise all the finance for the project! Bank lending is likely to be required, and share ownership could be extended beyond the local community on the basis of one vote per shareholding regardless of the size. This approach has been followed elsewhere in Scotland offering potential returns of up to 6% per annum, (see www.goodenergy.com)

What about the grid?

A grid connection offer has been received by GREA. The proposed connection is 90% underground with a low level, 10m high, overhead closing connection to existing grid structures.

Regarding grid capacity, a great deal is being invested in the National Grid in order that it will be capable of handling the renewable energy that is now being generated. Currently, there are constraints within the network, and this results in constraint payments. To put this into perspective, information published by the National Grid shows that in 2013, wind farms were paid £49.7m in constraint payments, where as other technologies (gas, nuclear, thermal etc.) were paid £289.3m. So wind only comprised 14% of the total. GREA will progress this project under the Feed in Tariff scheme which is open to all renewable energy technologies of this scale. The cost to the average household for the Feed in Tariff in 2013 was £7 per annum, or 71p per week.

Why do you need my support?

The government is actively encouraged local communities to develop and manage their own renewable energy schemes for the benefit of the community, and now is the time to act before this support is removed and we miss out.

We need your support for many reasons. We will need to convince the Forestry Commission Scotland that we have the support of the community, and gaining planning consent will be a lot easier if we have strong local support. It is important that you let us know if you support what we are doing. The best way to do this is to say so in the Community Council questionnaire which you can complete on-line here