Sound of Islay application takes another step forward

June 3, 2014

IET welcomes the further progress in the Sound of Islay project by the request to Scottish Ministers that amended consent for the development be deemed to be granted.

Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) recently applied to Scottish Ministers for consent to construct an offshore demonstration tidal energy array in the Sound of Islay and associated onshore generating station with an installed capacity of 10 MW.  The purpose of this application is to amend the consent awarded to SPR by Scottish Ministers in March 2011 and requests that planning permission for the associated onshore development is deemed to be granted.

A copy of the application and related documentation is available for inspection in the IET offices and at the Argyll and Bute Council offices on Jamieson Street in Bowmore.

Anyone wishing to make representations regarding this application should do so by email to or by post to The Scottish Government, Marine Scotland Licensing Operations Team, Marine Laboratory, 375 Victoria Road, Aberdeen AB11 9DB.


May 22, 2014

The following press release was issued by the Islay Energy Community Benefit Society today.

PRESS RELEASE 22nd May 2014
The Islay Energy Community Benefit Society (IECBS) has successfully raised the £1.27 million needed for investment in its community wind project. £535,000 was raised by the Islay Energy Community Benefit Society (IECBS) share offer which closed on 31st March, and the remaining £735,000 has been secured as a loan from the Scottish Government’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF). This is believed to be the first community wind project in Scotland to be part-funded by a community benefit society.
IECBS plans to install a single 330 kW Enercon E33 wind turbine, height 61 metres from ground to blade tip, on a site leased from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) located near Castlehill, Isle of Islay. On average, it will generate electricity equivalent to the yearly consumption of around 300 homes, and will save about 600 tonnes p.a. of CO2 emissions. 5 years of development work on the project was carried out by the Islay Energy Trust (IET), supported by Community Energy Scotland, the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) and Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), SNH and IET. The Big Lottery Fund also contributed through a grant for the cost of the grid connection upgrade..
The wind turbine is scheduled to be commissioned by the end of November 2014. When operational, the Project is expected to yield financial benefits for the community of £60-80,000 p.a., or up to £2.5million over the 20-year life of the project (allowing for inflation). The community benefit funds will be distributed by the Islay Energy Trust (IET) on Islay, Jura and Colonsay in accordance with its charitable objectives. These include development of more community-owned renewable energy projects, provision of advice on energy efficiency, and grants/loans for relief of fuel poverty and annual grants to local voluntary and charitable organisations.
Jenni Minto, Secretary of IECBS, said: “We are delighted with the fantastic response to the share offer. 80% of applications came from Islay, Jura and Colonsay residents, and the amount raised was well beyond our expectations. We are also very grateful to Scottish Enterprise which has provided the balance of the funding needed from the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF), and to all those organisations and people who supported the development work.”
Andrew Smith, head of REIF said: “This is a really exciting project which illustrates the potential for renewable energy in supporting local communities in more remote locations. In fact a key part of REIF’s remit is to support initiatives such as this, which offer support at a local level, while contributing to Scotland’s growing reputation as a global centre for the development of innovative technologies and projects in renewables”
Iona McDonald, Local Energy Scotland CARES Development Officer added, “We are delighted with this result of sustained hard work over several years by members of the Islay community, backed with support from CARES, and we look forward to seeing the wind turbine going up later this year.”
Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s Kerrie Grant, Head of Strengthening Communites commented, ‘HIE is overjoyed that the support we have provided to Islay Energy Trust through account management over the past three years has resulted in the successful development of the IECBS andthe future delivery of a community wind turbine. This, together with a number of other projects currently being delivered by IET, will provide excellent benefits to the communities of Islay, Jura and Colonsay and contribute towards the sustainability of IET. Congratulations to all involved!’
Contact details:
Islay Energy Community Benefit Society
Tel: 01496 301413
For more information, visit

This follows a press release issued yesterday by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing:

Millions for renewable energy projects

New investment will boost green energy.

Scottish Enterprise has announced £3.5 million of new investment in Scotland’s growing renewable energy sector, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing announced today.

Four projects are being supported through the enterprise agency’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF).

  • Islay Energy Community Benefit Society will receive a £735k loan to install a community owned 330Kw turbine on the island, with the potential to power the equivalent of 300 homes.
  • Edinburgh-based Nova Innovation has secured a £700k loan from REIF to support the first phase of the 0.5MW Shetland Tidal Array, believed to be the first deployment of a tidal energy array anywhere in the world. Scottish Enterprise is backing the project with a £1.2 million R&D grant that will lever in an additional £1.85 million of private sector investment.
  • Fintry Development Trust, a body dedicated to making the village in Stirlingshire a zero-carbon, zero-waste community, is being supported with a £615k loan. It will help refinance a commercial agreement that gives the trust an income stream from the nearby Earlsburn Wind Farm. This income will be invested in local renewable projects.
  • Inverness company AWS Ocean Energy has received a loan of £250k to support further development and testing of its AWS-III, a wave energy device which offers the prospect of wave energy on a farm scale. AWS also received support through the first round of WATERS funding.

In Aberdeen, attending the All-Energy Conference, Mr Ewing said:

“This latest round of Scottish Enterprise funding underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to Scotland’s growing renewables sector.

“Scotland is a world leader in deploying renewables technology. We have tremendous green energy potential and vast natural resources, about a quarter of Europe’s wind and tidal energy and 10% of its wave power.

“Clean, green energy is creating opportunities for communities across Scotland and delivering jobs and investment.”


Welcoming the investment, head of REIF Andrew Smith said:

“These are really ambitious and exciting projects, which clearly demonstrate the wide range of initiatives that REIF was set up to support. They also show how by working with other funders we can leverage significant investment from the private sector.

“Scotland is fast gaining a global reputation for being at the forefront of developing and testing new technologies in the development of wind, wave and tidal energy, and all of these projects will make a real contribution to the ongoing development of the sector.”

Calum Davidson, Director of Energy and Low Carbon at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said:

“The investment in each of these projects is particularly welcome given their pioneering nature and potential impact on economic and social development in the Highlands and Islands.

“Not only will they contribute to further development of wave, tidal and community owned renewable energy, but their innovative nature ensures that yet again Scotland remains firmly in the renewable energy spotlight.

“This is further demonstrated this week at All-Energy, where the largest regional presence is held by the Highlands and Islands.”


The Renewable Energy Investment Fund was launched in October 2012. Its aim is to promote the use of energy from specific renewable sources and drive further investment into key areas of Scotland’s renewables industry.

REIF is delivered by the Scottish Investment Bank – the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise – on behalf of the Scottish Government and its Enterprise Agencies.

WATERS is a collaborative venture between Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).Companies based in Scotland and Scottish subsidiaries of overseas companies are invited to submit project proposals that will advance wave and tidal energy devices.

Contact: Cristina Dello Sterpaio on 0131 244 2175 or 07557 848722

See also:


Great advances….

March 27, 2014

Where to start? So much has happened since the AGM! Most importantly, the newly-formed Islay Energy Community Benefit Society ( the body which will ultimately own and operate the community wind turbine) launched its share offer on the 19th January.
Interest was keen and investment has been brisk – £75,000 was pledged on the launch evening, and the current total, with 4 days to go until the offer closes, stands at just over £460,000. This is a magnificent show of support from the Islay community and beyond, and has given us great heart during the last few weeks.
We have been working with the Scottish Investment Bank to secure top-up loan funding to meet any shortfall in project costs after the share offer closes, and this has involved some of us for the first time in the rigours of Due Diligence. This is a process which could perhaps be described as akin to childbirth, in that no-one else can fully explain how much it is going to hurt! To have several sets of solicitors scrutinising every document related to the project and querying every clause is, to say the least, stressful, and it is to the credit of the directors and staff involved that no-one has yet run away; one or two us, however, may well run away if we hear those dreaded words again.
This is coming to an end, and we do hope to reach financial close very soon; currently the plan is to start work on site towards the end of April and for the turbine to be commissioned and generating income for the community by November this year. Dr Colin Anderson, who has acted as Technical Adviser throughout, has now been appointed Project Manager for the construction phase. We are delighted to have Colin fully involved, as his calming presence and keen mind will keep us on track in the coming months. Colin visited Islay this week and we not only paced out the site, but placed a peg to mark the exact centre of the turbine for Enercon’s reference. It has taken four years to place that peg, and the moment was well worth marking!


I think we'll put it..... here!

I think we’ll put it….. here!

IET AGM focuses on benefits from community wind project and prospects for community share offer

December 5, 2013

Over 35 people who attended the Islay Energy Trust Annual General Meeting at ICCI on Wednesday 20th November were given details of IET’s current projects and plans. In particular, there was considerable interest in Lindy MacLellan’s briefing on the anticipated benefits (up to £80,000 p.a.) from the 330kW Community Wind Project near Castlehill which is nearing financial close, and in Jenni Minto’s preview of the launch of the Islay Energy Community Benefit Society (IECBS) in January. The cost of the Project is around £1 million, and the more that can be raised from local investors through the IECBS share offer, the less that will have to be borrowed from a bank. This means there will be higher ‘dividends’ to the community. More details on the share offer will be forthcoming over the next few weeks. In addition, there were also presentations from Flora Maclean on the Sound of Islay Tidal Project, and from George Dean on the Bio-fuel from Distillery Wastes Study which has been a joint venture with Re-Jig. Stephen Harrison, Deputy Head of Islay High School, was elected to the IET Board in place of Mr Ian Stuart who has resigned, and Kirsten Laurie and Gus Newman were re-elected as Directors.

Islay Community Wind Turbine Project – Community Consulation

September 19, 2013

The full report from the community consultation carried out on our behalf by SKS Scotland earlier this year is now available here: Community Needs Analysis 2013

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone on Islay, Jura and Colonsay who helped to compile the study, by filling out questionnaires, taking part in focus groups and attending open meetings. We hope you’ll find the results interesting! The report has been used as a reference for our application to the Big Lottery towards the cost of our grid connection,  and provides a framework for the distribution of funds when the turbine has been installed and commissioned. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch

.priority projects

New Sound of Islay Tidal Project Officer appointed

September 10, 2013

The Islay Energy Trust (IET) is pleased to announce the appointment of Flora McLean as its new Tidal Energy Project Officer. Prior to joining IET, Flora was Director of the Scottish Food and Drink Federation in Edinburgh for 13 years, and earlier spent time working as a researcher in the House of Commons. Flora, who now lives in Caol Ila, is originally from Clydebank. However, she is no stranger to Islay. Her grandmother Flora Buie was born and brought up at ‘the Bacan’ (the shoreline beyond Caol Ila distillery) and her grandfather John McNiven was from Gruinart.

Philip Maxwell, Chairman of IET, said, “we wish Flora all the best in her new post. She will be assisting ScottishPower Renewables in the final stages of the development of the Sound of Islay Tidal Energy Project leading up to installation of the first devices, expected to be in late 2015.”

Flora McLean

Farewell to Andy

August 15, 2013

What better way to say goodbye to Andy Macdonald, our Tidal Project Officer, than with a farewell picnic on a sunny day on the Sound of Islay, near the project’s proposed cable landing site?



We will miss Andy’s presence in the office very much, but wish him every success in his new post as Engineering Technology Manager at Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult  in Glasgow. No beach picnics there!

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