The MP and MSP for the Western Isles have backed a fundraising campaign to build a community-owned wind farm in North Uist, which aims to generate more than £105,000 (about $119,000) a year.
UistWind, being driven by North Uist Development Company (NUDC), is in the final stages of raising the money the community needs to put towards its development of two 900-kW turbines at Criongrabhal, near Clachan-na-Luib.
It needs to raise at least £350,000 (almost $400,000) by the end of the year and last night launched a crowdfunding appeal, in addition to an existing community share offer, in a bid to close the gap.
The project has raised £332,550 (about $376,000).
“North Uist Development Company have worked tirelessly to bring this vital community wind project to this stage,” said Angus Brendan MacNeil, Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP. “They have faced many hurdles along the way but have never given up and remained committed to bringing this project to fruition. To ensure this vital project goes ahead, there needs to be a final push for funding to meet the target of the Community Share Offer.”
The UistWind project aims to save the community £2.33 million over the project’s 22-year lifespan. Profits will go back to the North Uist community via NUDC’s charitable efforts.
The 1.8-MW project will cost around £3.5 million ($3.95 million) and most of the finance is expected to be covered by a commercial loan of £2.5 million ($2.8 million) from Triodos Bank with a secondary loan of £650,000 ($734,000) from the Energy Investment Fund.
Without the crowdfunding, the company claims profits from the project would be delayed 10 years.
UistWind will sell power generated from the project to the national grid.
“These wind turbine plans are a positive, locally-driven initiative which have the potential to bring significant investment and revenue into the local economy,” said Alasdair Allan, Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP. “I hope as many people as possible will help to get them over the final hurdle and contribute to their crowdfunding efforts.”
Construction begins at the end of January 2019 and will finish July 2019. Contracts are being negotiated and fundraising has been allowed to continue to the end of the year. The share offer and crowdfunding campaign will both remain open until financial close on December 31, 2018.
The crowdfunding campaign will accept donations of any sum towards the campaign.
Benefits to investors include a target rate of 4% return on investment and a right to participate in the decision-making of NUDC.