About this group
Project update, 8th June
Volunteers at PEDAL and Grener Leith have been working hard to develop a community owned wind turbine at Seafield Sewage Works since January 2011. In January this year we hit a stumbling block in negotiations over the Seafield site, in relation to safety and liability issues should there be an accident involving the turbine. In response PEDAL and Greener Leith produced options for consideration by the Scottish Government.
On 28th May, Scottish Energy Minster Fergus Ewing chaired a meeting at Seafield involving all parties, in an attempt to find a way forward. However, representatives of landowners Scottish Water and site operators Veolia Water stated that the site is no longer considered suitable for a wind turbine due to the possible need for land to expand the waste water treatment works in the future.
While this development is frustrating, we are pleased to say that Scottish Water have pledged to help us find another site for a community turbine, or to otherwise help the communities of Portobello and Leith achieve their renewable energy aspirations. Fergus Ewing MSP will chair a follow up meeting with Scottish Water in September to review progress on these possibilities.
See our blog to read the press release issued by the Scottish Government last Friday, 8th June.
Project Update, 30th April
We are very disappointed to tell our supporters that our plans for the first urban community-owned wind turbine in the UK have hit a stumbling block after the landowner, Scottish Water, changed their stance on the project at the start of this year.
Negotiations stalled after the private sector companies that manage the PFI contract at the treatment works demanded that Scottish Water accept liability for any accidents involving the proposed turbine on the site.
Although the risk of the wind turbine damaging the sewage works is extremely small, Scottish Water - which is 100% owned by Scottish Ministers - have said they are not willing to accept the risk, even though PEDAL and Greener Leith would fund an insurance policy as part of the project.
Representatives of PEDAL, Greener Leith and Scottish Water last met on 1st February 2012 in an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the issue. Since then, having already put in many hundreds of hours over many months to get the project to this stage, we have attempted to lobby Scottish Government ministers in a bid to find a way forward. We’ve called on them to direct Scottish Water to indemnify the PFI contract holders from any risk associated with this project. Alternatively, the Scottish Government could create an indemnity bond to cover community renewable projects on land subject to PFI. This could be covered in the future from the proceeds from community projects that have benefited from it.
To date Scottish Water has not changed its stance on the project.
Charlotte Encombe, Chair of Greener Leith said:
“We are bitterly disappointed to have got this far only for the project to be stalled on what looks like a technicality. We are exploring every available option to resolve this impasse, and will not give up on the project yet. We owe it to the thousands of supporters who voted for us on Energyshare.com, the hundreds of local people who will benefit and our project funders to try to find a way to break the deadlock.”
Eva Schonveld, Chair of PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town said:
“We are particularly frustrated that Scottish Water has taken a whole year to identify these issues, during which a huge number of volunteer hours have been put into the project. Our feasibility work shows there are no technical ‘show-stoppers’ to building a turbine here, we are the most supported of nearly 1000 projects across the UK that took part in the Energyshare competition, and we have all the funds in place to take the project to planning submission.
“We continue to try to resolve the issue of liability through negotiations and political solutions. It seems extraordinary that dozens of wind turbines operate without incident on sewage works around the world, but this cannot be done on public land in Edinburgh. We simply cannot accept that, which is why we are determined to find a way forward.”
The Scottish Government aims to achieve 100% of electricity demand from renewables by 2020 and 500MW of community-owned renewables by the same date. However, to-date, community owned renewable energy projects in Scotland make up a combined generating capacity of just 19MW, mainly in the form of on-shore wind and hydro.
More than 90 PFI or PPP projects exist on publicly-owned land around Scotland, therefore PEDAL and Greener Leith believe it is only a matter of time before other community renewables projects encounter similar problems.
For a full breifing vist our websites:
Project Update, 12th January
Our Frequently Asked Questions tell you more about the project - they are available on the PEDAL and Greener Leith websites:
Initial feasibility work on our chosen site - at Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works - is now complete. The results show that this may be the best location in Edinburgh for a large wind turbine. We have also completed 3 months' wind resource monitoring, a full noise imapct assessment and 9 months of bird surveys.
Energyshare funds will enbale us to carry out further studies (for example further wind monitoring, site investigations and landscape studies), submit planning and grid connection applications and perhaps put down a deposit on a grid connection.
We are also negotiating legal agreements with the site owner, Scottish Water, and the operator, Stirling Water, to enable the project to be hosted at the Seafield site. We anticipate these will be concluded soon.
Our Vision and Aims
In 2010, two community-led not-for-private-profit groups, PEDAL (Portobello Transition Town) and Greener Leith, started working together to explore the feasibility of a wind turbine on land at Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works, Marine Esplanade, Edinburgh. If we are successful, this will be the first community-owned large scale wind project in a UK city.
The aims of the project are to:
- Generate enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of 300-1300 homes each year;
- Reduce CO2 equivalent emmissions from electricity generation by between 400 and 2000 tonnes per year (dependent on actual wind resource and capacity of turbine installed) over the lifetime of the installation (25 years);
- Generate an independent income stream that will be distributed to local not-for-private-profit groups for projects focussed on sustainable development. The funds will be disbursed on an open, transparent and inclusive basis.
- Increase local awareness of issues relating to energy and the potential for generating clean energy using local renewable resources, and provide learning and inspiration for other communities to undertake similar projects;
- Enable school pupils to learn more about sustainable energy by using the wind turbine as a teaching tool within the curriculum. We have strong links with local primary and secondary schools.
Portobello & Leith Community Wind Energy Project has the potential to make a big difference to carbon emissions, generate funding for local sustainable development projects, and provide education and inspiration to many others around energy issues right on the coast of Scotland's capital city!