One of Scotland’s largest farm-based wind energy projects is about to be switched on, generating returns for more than 20 local shareholders.
The £10.5m Greenside Wind Energy project is a joint venture between two farming families but the upfront investment needed to secure bank finance for the multi-million pound project meant other local investors have also been brought on board.
The four turbine, 9.2 megawatt wind farm has been developed as a farm diversification scheme by Elaine Booth and husband Peter Robertson of Ednie Farms, St Fergus and Jim and Irene Fowlie, of Adziel, Strichen.
A further 22 investors, all based locally and many involved in rural businesses themselves, together own 30 per cent of the project which is being funded by ethical bank Triodos.
Electricity generated by the scheme, on land between St Fergus and Crimond, is being bought under a 15-year agreement with SmartestEnergy which buys power from over 100 projects developed by farms, communities and businesses across Scotland.
The Greenside project is the third which Ednie Farms has been involved in and by far the largest.
“We’re delighted so many local people are involved with this project and the experience many of them have been able to bring from their own businesses has proved very helpful in developing a scheme of this scale,” said Elaine of the Ednie business which includes Aberdeen Angus cattle, cereals and a farm cottage venture.
She added: “The philosophy behind the project from the outset has been to try and ensure maximum benefits for the economy in the area and we believe local ownership is key to that.”
“The project will help reduce the carbon footprint of the St Fergus gas terminal with electricity generated by the wind farm meeting a sizeable proportion of its needs,” said Jim Fowlie.