17 Oct 2023

£4 million investment into community energy group Attix CIC enables them to build Scotland's first subsidy free, 100% community owned onshore wind turbine

The project will benefit local people living in the Garnock Valley and support Scotland’s transition to net zero.
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Article written by alex.lomax

We’ve invested £4 million in Attix Community Interest Company (CIC) so that the group can press forward with its plans to construct the turbine, which will have an operational capacity of 2.5 MW, just outside Kilbirnie in North Ayrshire. Once built, it will be the first 100% community-owned onshore wind turbine in Scotland to operate commercially, without the benefit of government price support mechanisms.

Construction is currently underway and is expected to be completed by the end of next year. Once operational, the turbine will have the capacity to generate 7,839 MWh of clean electricity per year, the equivalent of powering 2,234 average UK homes, and will also deliver 3,324 tonnes of carbon emissions reductions annually. Profits from electricity sales will be reinvested back into the local area, which could include local sports and recreational facilities, as well as supporting the refurbishment of the Knox Institute building – a one-time important community hub.

Thrive’s funding is complemented by a £1.6 million investment from responsible finance provider, Social Investment Scotland, as part of a blended finance package, while Local Energy Scotland supported the project through planning and design with funding via the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES).

“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the growth of community energy through CARES and we are proud to have provided this project with both funding and support. Every community project is important in helping us to achieve a just transition to a net zero future and my congratulations go to the team at Radio City Association for reaching this important milestone in what is a significant and innovative development in delivering community-owned energy.”

Gillian Martin, Scottish Energy Minister

“Scotland is a world leader in renewable energy generation, home to innovative projects that are not only helping the country to meet its own net zero goals but setting an example for other countries to follow suit. We’re proud to play a role in this community energy success story – a brilliant example of passion and perseverance that will bring tangible benefits to the people living in the Garnock Valley including a new revenue stream, local green jobs and an active role in tackling the climate emergency. Local projects like these will help Scotland build a cleaner, cheaper, homegrown energy system at a time when many people are struggling as a result of the energy and cost of living crises. We’re pleased to be able to provide the ATTIX team with the flexible, collaborative capital they need to move forward with construction.”

Matthew Clayton, Managing Director, Thrive Renewables

The community group has overcome various challenges to get the project through to the construction stage, after commercial developers previously tried and failed to secure planning for the site. Recognising the benefits an onshore wind project could bring to the community, ATTIX proposed a new planning approach for its project in 2018 and, after receiving vital development funding from CARES, the group successfully gained planning permission in 2019.

While the impact of higher energy prices, inflation and grid constraints nearly stalled the project once again, we came on board alongside Social Investment Scotland in September 2023.

The Scottish Government has set a target of 2 GW of renewable energy to be community or locally owned by 2030. Research from Energy Saving Trust has found that an estimated 908 MW of community and locally owned renewable energy capacity from 26,290 installations was operational in Scotland by the end of December 2022. This is estimated to produce 1,933 GWh of renewable energy annually.

CARES was established in 2010 to encourage local and community ownership of renewable energy projects across Scotland and to help maximise the benefits of renewable energy systems, whether commercial or community owned. Delivered on the government’s behalf by Local Energy Scotland, it has provided more than £58 million in funding to applicants and supported more than 600 projects across the country in total.

“It represents a massive step forward for our Electric Valley Project which aims to promote sustainability and energy self-reliance and the investment of profits from locally sourced renewable power back into our communities. This will allow us to start addressing inequalities in employment, health and education created by years of neglect and absence of new investment.”

Allan Wilson, Secretary of Radio City Association and former Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development for the Scottish Government

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