05 Jun 2024

Behind the scenes at Scotland’s first subsidy free, 100% community-owned onshore wind turbine

Construction of the 2.5MW project near North Ayrshire is well underway and expected to be completed by the end of this year.
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Article written by alex.lomax

We’ve been on site in Kilbirnie to see how construction is progressing at Scotland’s first subsidy free community owned wind turbine, which will operate commercially without the benefit of government price support mechanisms.

Last year Thrive provided community energy group, ATTIX CIC, with a loan of £4 million to enable them to press on with construction. We recently headed up to Scotland to spend time on site with Allan and Scott Wilson from Radio City Association, who founded Attix CIC as part of their mission to develop community owned renewable energy assets and other community initiatives in the Garnock Valley.

The community have already overcome multiple challenges, so it was rewarding to see their efforts coming to fruition as construction progresses. During our visit, we got to see some of the project infrastructure already in place, including the completed access track – ready for the turbine to be installed in the Autumn.

“Seeing the site starting to take shape is incredibly rewarding, especially after the tireless planning work that was needed to push the project through to the construction stage. With construction to be completed later this year, we’re looking forward to seeing the benefits the turbine will bring to people living in the Garnock Valley – which includes a new revenue stream that will help to fund other important community initiatives.”

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

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. One of their recent initiatives which we were also able to see was a cycle path to connect the area better with the rail station. In the future the profits from the wind turbine will be able to fund similar initiatives.

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).

This project is a great example for other community groups in Scotland and we were proud to see it featured in presentations and discussions at this year’s All Energy conference, one of the UK’s largest annual gatherings of professionals in the renewables space.

Construction of the project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.


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