A community benefit society is launching a share offer to raise finance for a new hydroelectric scheme. Based on the west coast of Scotland around Strontian, Sunart Community Renewables was set up in 2014 under the guidance of the Scottish Community Shares Unit.
The project is an initiative of the local charity Sunart Community Company, which identified the potential for a community-run micro hydroelectric scheme on the Allt nan Cailleach. They have already purchased a disused dam from Scottish Water under the Community Right to Buy legislation.
The community benefit society will develop the scheme, secure funding, construct, commission and manage the hydro scheme on behalf of its members. The project received a grant from Scottish and Southern Electricity, as well as Community and Renewable Energy Scheme loans from Local Energy Scotland. It aims to have the scheme fully operational by November 2015.
The project will generate revenue by selling hydro-electricity to the national grid through an energy supplier and by receiving Feed-in-Tarrif payments. After replaying money borrowed to set up the scheme, any surplus generated from the scheme will be transferred to a community benefit fund to allocate to other local projects. The scheme is expected to generate 423,200kWh and a gross income of £106,900 in its first full year of activity.
The share offer will be launched on 3 October by member of Scottish Parliament (MSP), Dave Thompson, with support from representatives of Community Shares Scotland. The launch will include a special performance from Trail West, the Scottish Dace Band of 2013.
Community Shares Scotland is a three-year programme funded by Big Lottery Fund Scotland and Carnegie UK Trust to promote and support community shares in Scotland. It aims to offer advice and best practice guides for community enterprises considering or developing share offers, supporters who are interested in purchasing shares and advisers who provide support and assistance to enterprises considering and developing share offers.
• For more information, visit: www.sunartcommunityrenewables.org.uk