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Christmas comes early as community passes wind farm target

The wind farm in North Uist is expected to be complete by July 2019.

Success: The wind farm will be completed by next summer.
Success: The wind farm will be completed by next summer.

A community-owned wind farm will be built in North Uist next year after a fundraising campaign passed its target.

Two turbines are to be constructed at Criongrabhal, near Clachan-na-Luib, as part of a renewables project, and are expected to cost around £3.5m.

The project is being primarily funded by commercial loans, however the community was required to raise a minimum of £350,000 as its equity stake.

The target was reached at the weekend, with a total of £408,000 raised by Monday following the share offer.

It is estimated that the project will generate around £105,000 per year, amounting to £2.33m over the project's projected lifespan of 22 years.

The profits are to be directed back to the community via North Uist Development Company's charitable activities.

Construction is due to begin at the end of January 2019 and will be completed in July 2019.

UistWind has full planning permission and a licence to sell its electricity to the National Grid, with space reserved on the current cable for its power to be exported to the mainland.

Mustapha Hocine, chair of North Uist Development Company, said: "It is the best possible Christmas present for North Uist that we have exceeded our target for the community share offer.

"This means that more people will benefit from the target interest rate of 4% and it means that the community benefit will be even greater. But it is important that we keep going right up until December 31.

"North Uist needs this transformational project and it will be a superb start to the new year, knowing that we are finally able to turn our dream into a reality."

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