Category Archives: Wind Turbine

Our turbine proposals have gone into planning!

It’s up to Highland Council now wheth­er the pro­ject can go ahead, but we’re delighted to have got this far. Below are some details from our press release.

As you will have noticed the Energyshare web­site has­n’t been closed down — Energyshare decided to keep it open after many of the groups fea­tured asked them to do so. So we will con­tin­ue to keep in touch with you in this way — unless you tell us you don’t want to receive these updates.

Community renew­ables pro­ject reaches cru­cial milestone:

A com­munity-owned renew­able energy pro­ject has reached a cru­cial mile­stone with the sub­mis­sion of a detailed plan­ning applic­a­tion to Highland Council.

The pro­ject, which has been jointly developed by two Edinburgh-based com­munity organ­isa­tions, aims to gen­er­ate clean, renew­able energy, con­trib­ut­ing to Scottish Government efforts to tackle cli­mate change.

The two 750KW wind tur­bines at the heart of the pro­ject will also gen­er­ate a fin­an­cial return that will be shared between loc­al com­munity organ­isa­tions near the pro­ject and the non-profit groups that developed the ini­ti­at­ive, Greener Leith and PEDAL Portobello.

Charlotte Encombe, Greener Leith Chair said: “Volunteers from both Greener Leith and PEDAL Portobello have inves­ted hun­dreds of volun­teer hours to get the pro­ject to this stage, fun­drais­ing, man­aging con­tract­ors and meet­ing with loc­al com­munity groups.

“All the envir­on­ment­al stud­ies on the site show that our com­munity-owned wind pro­ject will have little impact on the sur­round­ing area, and unlike most com­mer­cial energy devel­op­ments, this pro­ject will provide a sig­ni­fic­ant fin­an­cial return to sup­port com­munity-led ini­ti­at­ives in the loc­al area as well as in Leith and Portobello.”

The pro­ject is cur­rently 95% owned by two Edinburgh-based com­munity groups Greener Leith and PEDAL Portobello. A num­ber of com­munity organ­isa­tions loc­al to the pro­ject have already been approached by volun­teers from the pro­ject, and offered the oppor­tun­ity to invest in the project.

Eva Schonveld, PEDAL Portobello Chair said: “Whilst com­munity groups close to the pro­ject are already guar­an­teed to receive annu­al com­munity bene­fit pay­ments from the pro­ject, we are also able to offer non-profit organ­isa­tions in the loc­al area the oppor­tun­ity to invest in the pro­ject dir­ectly too.”

“All over Scotland, renew­able energy pro­jects like this are gen­er­at­ing resources for com­munity groups that can help them revital­ise their areas, whilst sim­ul­tan­eously tack­ling cli­mate change and UK depend­ence on fossil fuels from for­eign countries.

“We’re really excited about reach­ing this import­ant mile­stone in our pro­ject and keen to start play­ing a part in the com­munity-owned renew­able energy revolution.”

Should the pro­ject receive plan­ning per­mis­sion, con­struc­tion of the wind tur­bines is expec­ted to begin in 2015. 

Alternative site to be identified for turbine

Our reg­u­lar read­ers will know that PEDAL volun­teers have been work­ing hard with those at Greener Leith to devel­op a com­munity owned wind tur­bine at Seafield Sewage Works. In January this year we hit a stum­bling block in nego­ti­ations over the Seafield site, in rela­tion to safety and liab­il­ity issues should there be an acci­dent involving the tur­bine. In response PEDAL and Greener Leith pro­duced options for con­sid­er­a­tion by the Scottish Government.

On 28th May, Scottish Energy Minster Fergus Ewing chaired a meet­ing at Seafield involving all parties, in an attempt to find a way for­ward. However, rep­res­ent­at­ives of landown­ers Scottish Water and site oper­at­ors Veolia Water stated that the site is no longer con­sidered suit­able for a wind tur­bine due to the pos­sible need for land to expand the waste water treat­ment works in the future. 

While this devel­op­ment is frus­trat­ing, we are pleased to say that Scottish Water have pledged to help us find anoth­er site for a com­munity tur­bine, or to oth­er­wise help the com­munit­ies of Portobello and Leith achieve their renew­able energy aspir­a­tions. Fergus Ewing MSP will chair a fol­low up meet­ing with Scottish Water in September to review pro­gress on these possibilities. 

This press release below was agreed by all the parties involved in the nego­ti­ations and was issued by the Scottish Government last Friday, 8th June. 

Community groups, Scottish Government and Scottish Water to work together.

Community groups, Scottish Water and the Scottish Government have agreed to work togeth­er to find an altern­at­ive site for a wind tur­bine owned by com­munit­ies in the East of Edinburgh.

Following a meet­ing between Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, rep­res­ent­at­ives from PEDAL (Portobello Transition Town), Greener Leith and Scottish Water agreed to find an altern­at­ive site for a com­munity-owned wind tur­bine for the East of Edinburgh.

The two com­munity groups had planned to erect a wind tur­bine at Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works, with money raised from the tur­bine bene­fit­ing both com­munit­ies, but the site is no longer con­sidered suitable.

The land in ques­tion provides the only poten­tial for vital expan­sion of the Waste Water Treatment Works serving Edinburgh should this be neces­sary to meet future cus­tom­er demands. At the meet­ing on May 28, also atten­ded by loc­al MSP Kenny MacAskill, all parties agreed to work togeth­er to find an altern­at­ive site, or anoth­er way for Scottish Water to work with the com­munity groups.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland is lead­ing the way across the UK in how we sup­port loc­al and com­munity own­er­ship of renew­able energy, and I am determ­ined to ensure com­munit­ies all over Scotland reap the bene­fits of renew­able energy.

“Although it is dis­ap­point­ing that the site ori­gin­ally iden­ti­fied can­not be used for this com­munity wind tur­bine, this was a pos­it­ive and pro­duct­ive meeting.

“The Scottish Government and Scottish Water have agreed to help PEDAL and Greener Leith to find a site for anoth­er scheme elsewhere.

“If a suit­able site can­not be found, Scottish Water have indic­ated there are oth­er ways they would be able to work with the Community Group, and the Scottish Government and Community Energy Scotland will explore the pos­sib­il­ity of a part­ner­ship arrange­ment with a rur­al group to help Greener Leith and PEDAL achieve their renew­ables ambition.

“I have asked to be kept up to date on this issue and will be closely fol­low­ing progress.”

Porty & Leith Community Wind Turbine hits stumbling block in land negotiations

We are very dis­ap­poin­ted that our plans for the first urb­an com­munity wind tur­bine in Scotland have hit a stum­bling block after the landown­er, Scottish Water, changed their stance on the pro­ject at the start of this year.

Negotiations stalled after the private sec­tor com­pan­ies that man­age the PFI con­tract at the treat­ment works deman­ded that Scottish Water accept liab­il­ity for any acci­dents involving the pro­posed tur­bine on the site.

Although the risk of the wind tur­bine dam­aging the sewage works is extremely small, Scottish Water — which is 100% owned by Scottish Ministers —  have said they are not will­ing to accept the risk, even though PEDAL and Greener Leith would fund an insur­ance policy as part of the project.

Talks with Scottish Water and the com­pan­ies that man­age the Seafield site through a Private Finance Initiative began in February 2011. Despite receiv­ing sev­er­al writ­ten assur­ances from seni­or staff rep­res­ent­ing the organ­isa­tions involved that they would back a tur­bine on this site, it was not until 19th January 2012, nearly a year later, that Scottish Water changed their stance on the cru­cial land deal.

Representatives of PEDAL, Greener Leith and Scottish Water last met on 1st February 2012 in an unsuc­cess­ful attempt to resolve the issue. Since then, hav­ing already put in many hun­dreds of hours over many months to get the pro­ject to this stage, we have attemp­ted to lobby Scottish Government min­is­ters in a bid to find a way for­ward. 
 We’ve called on them to dir­ect Scottish Water to indem­ni­fy the PFI con­tract hold­ers from any risk asso­ci­ated with this pro­ject. Alternatively, the Scottish Government should cre­ate an indem­nity bond to cov­er com­munity renew­able pro­jects on land sub­ject to PFI. This could be covered in the future from the pro­ceeds from com­munity pro­jects that have benefited from it.

To date Scottish Water has not changed its stance on the project.

The extent of the influ­ence of private con­tract­ors over Scottish Water is unclear as the pro­ject requires a land deal that would last longer than the cur­rent PFI con­tract at Seafield – and the land, like Scottish Water, is ulti­mately owned by the pub­lic sector. 

Proposals to build a single wind tur­bine on the site are the res­ult of long stand­ing col­lab­or­a­tion between PEDAL and neigh­bour­ing com­munity group Greener Leith. We already have fund­ing from the Scottish Government and British Gas Energyshare in place to take the pro­ject to plan­ning applic­a­tion and grid connection. 

Expert opin­ion sug­gests that the Seafield site is the most pro­duct­ive site in the area. To date, our feas­ib­il­ity work has not uncovered any envir­on­ment­al or engin­eer­ing reas­on why the Seafield pro­ject could not proceed. 

Eva Schonveld, Chair of PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town said:

 “We are par­tic­u­larly frus­trated that Scottish Water has taken a whole year to identi­fy these issues, dur­ing which a huge num­ber of volun­teer hours have been put into the pro­ject. Our feas­ib­il­ity work shows there are no tech­nic­al ‘show-stop­pers’ to build­ing a tur­bine here, we are the most sup­por­ted of nearly 1000 pro­jects across the UK that took part in the Energyshare com­pet­i­tion, and we have all the funds in place to take the pro­ject to plan­ning submission.

“We con­tin­ue to try to resolve the issue of liab­il­ity through nego­ti­ations and polit­ic­al solu­tions. It seems extraordin­ary that dozens of wind tur­bines oper­ate without incid­ent on sewage works around the world, but this can­not be done on pub­lic land in Edinburgh. We simply can­not accept that, which is why we are determ­ined to find a way forward.”

Charlotte Encombe, Chair of Greener Leith said:

“We are bit­terly dis­ap­poin­ted to have got this far only for the pro­ject to be stalled on what looks like a tech­nic­al­ity.
We are explor­ing every avail­able option to resolve this impasse, and will not give up on the pro­ject yet. We owe it to the thou­sands of sup­port­ers who voted for us on, the hun­dreds of loc­al people who will bene­fit and our pro­ject fun­ders to try to find a way to break the deadlock.”

Georgy Davis of Community Energy Scotland, a mem­ber­ship organ­isa­tion that rep­res­ents com­munity renew­able energy pro­jects in Scotland said:

“This is a dis­ap­point­ing turn of affairs for this inspir­a­tion­al pro­ject that is a res­ult of sig­ni­fic­ant com­munity efforts.

“The issue of indem­nity for third parties in rela­tion to land that has exist­ing infra­struc­ture on it is one that could be of increas­ing sig­ni­fic­ance for com­munity-led renew­able pro­jects par­tic­u­larly in the urb­an envir­on­ment poten­tially ham­per­ing the Scottish Government’s abil­ity to achieve it’s tar­get for renew­ables in gen­er­al and com­munity renew­ables in par­tic­u­lar. We believe the issue needs resolved.”

The two groups held a peace­ful demon­stra­tion at the pro­posed site yes­ter­day, 28th April. 

Large scale wind tur­bines can be found at indus­tri­al sites in oth­er coun­tries such as England, Holland and the USA. These include tur­bines at com­mer­cial ports, chem­ic­al plants, water treat­ment and waste water treat­ment works. Those to be found in oper­a­tion in England include 1x 1,300KWp tur­bine at Hull Waste Water Treatment Works and 2x 600KWp tur­bines at Mablethorpe Sewage Treatment Works. Further, con­sen­ted wind pro­jects at waste water treat­ment works are: Bristol (4x 3,000KWp), Newthorpe in Nottinghamshire (1x 3,300KWp) and Severn-Trent in Leicestershire (1x 3,400KWp).

The Scottish Government’s tar­get is to achieve 100% of elec­tri­city demand from renew­ables by 2020 and 500MW of com­munity-owned renew­ables by the same date. See their Electricity Generation Policy at for more inform­a­tion. To-date, com­munity owned renew­able energy pro­jects in Scotland have a com­bined gen­er­at­ing capa­city of 19MW, mainly in the form of on-shore wind and hydro.

More than 90 PFI or PPP pro­jects exist on pub­licly-owned land around Scotland, there­fore PEDAL and Greener Leith believe it is only a mat­ter of time before oth­er com­munity renew­ables pro­jects encounter sim­il­ar problems. 

Support the Community Turbine DEMO TOMORROW (Saturday 28th April) at TEN!

PEDAL and Greener Leith have hit a stum­bling block in nego­ti­ations over the deal to enable the Portobello & Leith Community Wind Turbine to be built on Scottish Water’s land.
We really need loc­al people to come along to show their sup­port for the pro­ject on this tomor­row, Saturday 28th April. Please please meet on the Prom at the slip road behind the Dog & Cat Home at 10AM and we will walk/cycle/scoot to the tur­bine site. Also can any­one make a ban­ner? If so con­tact
Press pho­to­graph­ers will be present.
Please pass this mes­sage on — we only have until tomorrow!

Thank You!

A huge thank you to all who voted for us on – we won, beat­ing com­pet­i­tion from nearly 1,000 oth­er com­munity renew­ables pro­jects from around the UK! And thanks also to those who passed the mes­sage round their net­works encour­aging oth­ers to vote.

The prize is fund­ing to com­plete feas­ib­il­ity and site invest­ig­a­tion work for a com­munity-owned wind tur­bine on land at Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works.  The fund­ing is very wel­come but just as valu­able is the demon­stra­tion of massive sup­port from loc­al people for the project.

With best wishes,

PEDAL and Greener Leith

A short plea from the Energyshare voting event in London

A short plea by video from volun­teer and tur­bine pro­ject stal­wart Chas Booth on why you should vote for the Porty & Leith Community Wind Energy Project:

Chas was speak­ing from the Energyshare final vot­ing event in London today.

Thanks for rep­res­ent­ing, Chas!

You can vote for us (before 5PM) at

Motion in Parliament for Turbine Support

Today, Rob Gibson, MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross (Scottish National Party) placed the fol­low­ing motion in the Scottish Parliament:

Motion S4M-01448 — Rob Gibson (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (Scottish National Party) : Vote, Vote, Vote for Strathpeffer, Portobello and Leith

That the Parliament con­grat­u­lates Strathpeffer Community Centre in Ross-shire and Portobello and Leith Community Wind Energy Project in Edinburgh for mak­ing it through to the final round of vot­ing in the con­test to receive fund­ing toward com­ple­tion of their com­munity renew­ables and energy sav­ing pro­jects; notes that they are the only Scottish pro­jects to make it through to the final round and con­grat­u­lates them on what it sees as their drive and tenacity in pur­su­ing their pro­jects to this stage; notes that they have chosen St Andrew’s Day, Scotland’s nation­al day, to launch a cam­paign for Scots to sup­port their two pro­jects; notes that both pro­jects have engaged with the loc­al com­munity in the pro­mo­tion of renew­able energy and energy  sav­ing; con­siders that com­munity-owned renew­ables and energy sav­ing can make an import­ant con­tri­bu­tion to tack­ling cli­mate change and redu­cing fuel bills, and encour­ages all those who sup­port com­munity-owned renew­ables and energy sav­ing to register their sup­port for these pro­jects on the web­site by 3 December 2011.

Supported by: Sandra White, Annabelle Ewing, Angus MacDonald, David Torrance, John Finnie, Dennis Robertson

You can also view this motion on the Scottish Parliament web­site.

Scottish Community Groups Make St Andrew’s Day Appeal for Support

Two Scottish com­munity renew­able energy pro­jects have teamed up to
make a St. Andrew’s Day appeal for sup­port. The two pro­jects – one
from Edinburgh and the oth­er from Strathpeffer in the Highlands – have
chosen Scotland’s nation­al day to appeal for online votes to help them
win fund­ing from the Energyshare fund.

River Cottage and Scottish Gas are put­ting power in the hands of the
people from across Scotland by encour­aging them to vote in their
Energyshare Fund, a new green ini­ti­at­ive giv­ing the pub­lic a say on
where hun­dreds of thou­sands of pounds should be spent to help local
com­munity energy projects.

The energy­share fund will enable com­munit­ies to gen­er­ate renewable
energy which will cre­ate an income stream to sup­port a vari­ety of
com­munity activities.

Strathpeffer Community Centre in Ross-shire and Portobello & Leith
Community Wind Energy Project in Edinburgh are two loc­ally run
com­munity pro­jects from Scotland who have made it through to the last
19 schemes (out of nearly 1000) in a bid to win the funding.

Portobello & Leith Community Wind Energy Project

Portobello & Leith Community Wind Energy Project would see a
com­munity-owned wind tur­bine built at Seafield in Edinburgh. In 2010,
PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town and Greener Leith, star­ted working
togeth­er to explore the feas­ib­il­ity of a wind tur­bine on land at
Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works in Edinburgh. If suc­cess­ful, this
will be the first com­munity-owned large scale wind pro­ject in a UK

Charlotte Encombe, Chair of Greener Leith said: “Portobello & Leith
Community Wind Energy Project has the poten­tial to make a big
dif­fer­ence to car­bon emis­sions and gen­er­ate sub­stan­tial fund­ing for
the next 25 years for loc­al sus­tain­able devel­op­ment pro­jects which in
the cur­rent eco­nom­ic cli­mate simply would not be considered
afford­able. If we are suc­cess­ful, the fund­ing will be a big step
towards real­ity for a pro­ject that could reduce CO2 emis­sions from
elec­tri­city gen­er­a­tion by between 400 and 2000 tonnes per year over
the life­time of the install­a­tion. We’d like as many Scots as possible
to show their sup­port on this St. Andrew’s Day and vote for Portobello
& Leith Community Wind Energy Project by visiting

Eva Schonveld, Chair of PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town said: “We
are delighted to have got this far in the Energyshare com­pet­i­tion, but
if we are to turn our renew­able vis­ion into real­ity, we really need
Scots the world over to sup­port our pro­ject on St. Andrew’s Day.”


Locally run, Strathpeffer Community Centre is open to all the
com­munity. Despite being only 10 years old, the centre is not energy
effi­cient. The centre wants to be more effi­cient and reduce costs so
that the money the char­ity raises can go on activ­it­ies for the
com­munity and not on keep­ing the centre heated. They are concentrating
on installing prac­tic­al energy sav­ing meas­ures includ­ing automatic
entrance doors, motion sens­ing light switches and loft insulation.

Clara Hickey, Strathpeffer Community Centre Manager said: “We are
delighted to be in the final nine­teen com­munity groups selec­ted by
Scottish Gas and River Cottage to win the energy­share prize.  We are
call­ing on people from across Scotland to vote for us as our project
is based on the prac­tic­al things we can do to the centre to make it
more effi­cient and so save money on our elec­tri­city bill, small
changes will mean a lot to us and our com­munity. We have had a great
deal of sup­port from our vil­lage but need the whole of Scotland to now
get behind us and vote for us. We hope as many people cast their vote
for Strathpeffer by vis­it­ing”

River Cottage’s Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall said:“We have already seen
at com­munit­ies who through either sav­ing money on
their energy bills or cre­at­ing income though energy gen­er­a­tion have
rein­vig­or­ated key com­munity facil­it­ies. The fund­ing avail­able is not
simply about tur­bines or sol­ar PV, it’s about enabling people to make
their com­munit­ies more sus­tain­able – both envir­on­ment­ally and

Gearoid Lane, Managing Director of British Gas New Markets, said:
“We’re see­ing a genu­ine groundswell of interest around the country
from com­munit­ies want­ing to gen­er­ate their own clean, green energy.
Energyshare is the first ini­ti­at­ive of its kind that allows people to
have their say in how com­munit­ies save and gen­er­ate their own energy.”

There will be four recip­i­ents of fund­ing, decided entirely by the
pub­lic via a vote that is tak­ing place at
There are three cat­egor­ies: small, medi­um and large and people can
vote once in each category.

Strathpeffer is with­in the small cat­egory and Portobello and Leith
Community Wind Energy Project is with­in the medi­um cat­egory. They are
the only groups that have reached this final stage from Scotland.So
they hope to gain as much loc­al sup­port as they can in addi­tion to
inspir­ing oth­ers across Britain with their excit­ing plans.

The pub­lic vote opened on 15 November and the win­ners will be
announced on 3rd December.

Anyone vot­ing can become a win­ner too — River Cottage is giv­ing away 5
books every day to voters.  Plus, for the energy­share Group who gets
the most sup­port­ers vot­ing, they can scoop a £1,000 cash prize.

Get involved now at

Please vote for us!

Out of nearly 1,000 par­ti­cip­at­ing pro­jects from across the UK, PEDAL and Greener Leith’s pro­pos­al for a com­munity wind tur­bine at Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works is in the final 19 that might win fund­ing from Energyshare!   We are in the medi­um pro­jects cat­egory and so stand to win up to £80,000 towards the project.

Vote for us HERE 

Please note you only get one vote per pro­ject cat­egory.

If you are already a sup­port­er of our pro­ject on the Energyshare web­site, please note this is not the same as vot­ing! All sup­port­ers will still need to place their votes if they want us to win the fund­ing. Winning pro­jects will only be judged on num­bers of votes, not num­bers of supporters.

We have pro­duced an updated set of Frequently Asked Questions for those who are inter­ested in find­ing out ore about the pro­ject and how it is progressing.

Spread the word

Please ask your friends, col­leagues and neigh­bours if they can sup­port us, by for­ward­ing this mail, adding the Energyshare vot­ing wid­get (avail­able on the right of this web­site or on the EnergyShare web­site) to your web­site site and/or Facebook page, or through Twitter — ask­ing them to vote for Portobello & Leith Community Wind Energy Project. Pleas note you can sign up to Energyshare using your Facebook account if you prefer this to using your e‑mail account.

Thank you

A huge thanks you to all our sup­port­ers. We’re really pleased to have got this far, and clearly we couldn’t have done it without your help.

Support for tur­bine fly­er — vote for us

Fintry Film Launch: A Scottish Village Benefits from Wind Energy

Fintry Development Trust has today released a short doc­u­ment­ary that shows how com­munit­ies can bene­fit from invest­ing in renew­able energy. The vil­lage of Fintry in Stirlingshire is a primary example of a com­munity that has embraced renew­able energy – and benefited greatly.

The short doc­u­ment­ary film Wind of Change has been released online.  It shows how Fintry, with its 300 house­holds, became the first vil­lage in the UK to enter a joint-ven­ture agree­ment with a wind farm developer. Instead of fight­ing the plans for the 14-tur­bine devel­op­ment, they con­vinced the renew­able developers to add an addi­tion­al tur­bine for the vil­lage to the pro­posed wind farm. Fintry now receives an aver­age of approx­im­ately £30,000-£50,000 a year in rev­en­ue from the wind tur­bine and is invest­ing the money to the bene­fit of the entire com­munity. Fintry Development Trust man­age the income stream from the tur­bine and has provided free insu­la­tion to more than half of the house­holds in the vil­lage and is now embark­ing on new ambi­tious pro­jects to even­tu­ally make Fintry a sus­tain­able, zero waste and zero car­bon community.

Wind of Change fol­lows the Fintry com­munity as it car­ries out a num­ber of these pro­jects such as installing micro-renew­able heat­ing sys­tems, plant­ing a com­munity orch­ard and open­ing a wood­land area for the loc­al primary school. The 15-minute doc­u­ment­ary was pro­duced by Edinburgh-based film­maker Cornelia Reetz. It premiered at the UK Green Film Festival in Leeds and Glasgow and will be broad­cast on the Community Channel in a few weeks time. You now have a chance to watch the film online on the fol­low­ing web­site: