Community turbine generating around £90,000 a year for remote island
Shapinsay community turbine benefiting islanders nine months after being erected to generate funds.
While concerns grow in some quarters over the number of wind farm applications for Scotland's countryside, one remote community that embraced the wind of change is reaping real benefits.
The Orkney Island of Shapinsay is seeing cash flood in from its locally owned turbine.
Around 300 residents call the island home. Jobs, access to services and transport links are always a challenge in remote areas but Shapinsay's new turbine is an attempt to change that.
The community turbine – dubbed Whirly by locals - was bought with a £1.3m loan.
The structure arrived in October and is now feeding electricity into the grid generating around £90,000 a year.
Sheila Garson, of the Shapinsay Development Trust, said: “I think the turbines given the community, in a way, some ownership of their future because they have helped to get it here and they are going to reap the benefits and it’s going to help them to see a future for their children.”
Turbine officer David McCormack added: “When it came the school kids were very much involved in the naming of it. Everyone knows when it came, they know how it functions and they know what an asset it is.”
Members of the Shapinsay lunch club are already benefitting. A lottery grant has funded a new community bus and out of hours ferry service, but the cash from whirly will run them.
Marjorie Kent, of the club, said: “On an island where there is no public transport, not even a taxi service, there are a few people still who don’t drive so this is relief.”
Shapinsay School is already making good use of the turbine income. The children have been on outdoor activity trips and there is the promise of a new community hub for the youngsters and the elderly on the island.
In such a remote community transport links are vital to retain the population and build on the tourist trade and the out of hours ferry aims to do just that.
The turbine is one of five community owned projects across the Orkney Islands and around a hundred in Scotland.