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!
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.
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
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.”
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!
August 15, 2013
IET is delighted to announce that its community wind turbine project near Castlehill was granted planning permission at a Council Planning Meeting on the 19th June. This is the culmination of development work which started in 2006 and which has included lengthy discussions with HIAL over airport safeguarding zones, lease negotiations with the landowner – SNH (still in progress), wind resource data gathering using a metmast installed on the proposed site, technology selection, ongoing grid connection and power purchase negotiations, visual impact assessments, a 12-month bird survey.
Once it is up and running, hopefully in mid-2014 (this is subject to turbine delivery schedule and agreement on the grid connection), the 330 kW turbine is expected to generate £60-80,000 p.a. for the benefit of the community. The actual sum will be partly dependent on how much equity can be raised by the Islay Energy Community Benefit Society (IECBS), and how much comes in the form of commercial loans. Indeed, the next big challenge is fund raising. IECBS, which will eventually own and operate the wind turbine and sell the electricity, is expecting to launch a share offer before the end of this year, the objective of which is to raise up to £650,000 which will be used to fund the purchase, installation and commissioning of the turbine.
We believe that Islay’s project could be one of the first in Scotland to be funded mainly by members of the local community.
May 27, 2013
IECBS Presentations from 15th May 2013
A public meeting was held in Bowmore Village Hall on Tuesday 14th May to discuss the proposal to establish the Islay Energy Community Benefit Society (IECBS). The idea was well-received and the presentations by Jenni Minto, IET’s Treasurer and David Hollings, from Co-operative and Mutual Solutions Limited, gave a clear explanation of how IECBS would operate.
Copies of the presentation are available here:
IECBS Presentations from 14th May 2013
The purpose of the IECBS is to raise funds to finance the installation of the community wind turbine at Castlehill. A community benefit society is set up and run by its members in order to conduct business for the benefit the community. The members are people and/or organisations who buy shares in the society, and receive interest on their investments.
The profits made by the society are used to provide benefit to the whole community. Each member has one vote irrespective of the amount invested, and the Board of Directors is elected by the members.