Our wind turbines - your questions answered
Updated: May 27, 2021
When heading through the Galson Estate, you will have driven by our three 900kW wind turbines in Ballantrushal. These Enercon turbines are connected to the local power grid, and, since the first turbine was erected in 2013, each year they have given clean, green electricity to something like 2,100 homes. Not only this, the profits generated from these turbines have been reinvested into the Galson Estate via Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn’s Community Investment Fund, assisting our local groups and organisations to make a tangible difference to our community.
Some of you may have questions about the turbines, including how they came to be built, how much energy they generate, and how profits from the turbines are distributed. This blog post aims to answer these questions, amongst others, and we hope that you find it both interesting and informative.
What was the key driver for the wind turbines, and when was the first turbine built?
In the early stages of the community buy-out of the Galson Estate in 2007, renewable energy was identified as a key driver for long-term sustainability. Provision of the Feed-In Tariff mechanism from 2010 was a key advantage. It had been intended to build 3 turbines, however, due to the banding of tariffs, it was more advantageous to install one turbine initially, which was completed in autumn 2013 on available land in Ballantrushal (Baile an Truiseil). Proximity to the electricity grid substation in Barvas was important to reduce capital costs, lower borrowing and maximise profit for the community. The first turbine was financed primarily through a loan from the Co-operative Bank, one of the few financial institutions willing to lend to community organisations.
How did the subsequent two wind turbines come to be built?
After successful installation of the first turbine, Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn turned its attention to financing and installing the second and third turbines. By this time, the Co-operative Bank was in major financial difficulty and unwilling to lend again. An alternative lender, Triodos Bank, was identified and Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn was able to progress with the second phase. There was a need to raise a local contribution towards the capital costs and, as a number of community groups had started to successfully raise funds through share offers across Scotland,