North Uist Development Company was declared winner of the Best Engagement Award for the UistWind project at the Scottish Green Energy Awards 2020 evening virtual event on November 26.
UistWind was shortlisted as a finalist in two categories: Best Community Project Award and Best Engagement Award; announced by Scottish Renewables in October after considering over 100 entries. More than 800 tuned in to the awards to recognise achievements from the renewables industry, with 12 judges to decide which finalists would receive 13 prestigious awards.
Locogen director and project manager, Stuart Hamilton said: “Wow! What a great way to end such a difficult year. Community energy is at the very heart of what we do at Locogen. In UistWind we found a project team and community who share our passion. This award provides well-deserved recognition to all those involved, who repeatedly overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to deliver a successful project that will benefit the community for many years to come.”
UistWind is a 1.8MW community owned wind farm in North Uist. The project was conceived as far back as 2010 but needed to overcome considerable financing, development, and construction hurdles before finally being commissioned in September 2019. Operational hurdles followed, including this year’s COVID-19 pandemic.
Ameena Camps, Project Delivery Manager at NUDC accepted the award on behalf the Company “Wow, thank you so much! It is an honour to accept this award on behalf of UistWind. This award is for the Members, the lenders Triodos and EIF, and for the community of North Uist who made this project possible.
“We have worked hard to actively engage and communicate as widely as possible right through to the most recent challenges, so the wider community feel part of the team. It was apt to have the local school children cut the ceremonial ribbon marking the opening of the site last year, representing the future generations of North Uist who will benefit from the project. Personally, I would like to thank my Mom, Susan Camps, who gave me the strength, determination and problem solving ability to tackle obstacles and passed away earlier this year.
“To all who have supported the project over the many very challenging years, and to Locogen for nominating us – we did it!”
UistWind was praised at the award ceremony for its engagement and communication during the many years of challenges; and, particularly for the North Uist Development Company’s (NUDC’s) work to spread the message of lessons learnt across the world to empower other communities whilst helping to avoid similar challenges in the future.
Andrew Ross, Director said “North Uist Development Company is delighted to win this Award. We would like to take the opportunity to thank the North Uist community for their continuing support for Uist Wind, as well as all the various stakeholders and in particular all those who invested in the project via our community share offer, which made the project possible.
“Getting the necessary permissions, raising the finance and getting our two turbines erected have all presented enormous challenges to our small community group. The fact that we managed to overcome all these challenges and that our project is now up and running – and generating above budget – is testament to all the support we have enjoyed from the community, our investors and key stakeholders.
“It is particularly rewarding that we are now able to pass on some of what we have learned to other groups trying to get renewable energy projects off the ground. There are many obstacles in the way of developing these projects nowadays, but if we can help groups navigate through these to increase the likelihood of success for other clean green energy projects across Scotland, that is great!”
North Uist Development Company is advising community groups and individuals to be on their guard against scams targeting bank accounts.
NUDC and NUDC (Trading) Ltd have recently been the victim of a sophisticated telephone-based scam, which unfortunately resulted in the loss of some money. This is now the subject of an ongoing investigation by the police and the bank, and the Companies are hopeful of recovering the funds.
The accounts targeted were unconnected with investments made in the wind turbine project or income generated by the turbines. These funds are held at a separate bank and were unaffected.
The police have advised that the islands are currently being targeted by fraudsters using new and sophisticated techniques to defraud individuals, community groups and charities. So everyone should be vigilant.
UistWind have been shortlisted as a finalist in this year’s Scottish Green Energy Awards; shortly after celebrating success of achieving a significant milestone in September: generating enough electricity to power every single home on the island of North Uist.
Scottish Renewables made the official announcement on Monday, October 5th, after considering more than 100 entries. This year’s Scottish Green Energy Awards will see 44 individuals, companies and projects as finalists for awards in 12 categories at a virtual ceremony on November 26.
Speaking for Locogen, project managers for the wind farm development, Director Stuart Hamilton, said: “We’re really proud of our work with UistWind. This project is a fantastic example of the value of community renewable energy, delivering significant social and financial benefits to the island. As we look to a green recovery from the current crisis, UistWind demonstrates how even remote communities can drive change and showcases the democratization of our energy system.”
UistWind is a 1.8MW community owned wind farm in North Uist. The project was conceived as far back as 2010 but needed to overcome considerable financing, development and construction hurdles before finally being commissioned in September 2019. Less than one year after commissioning, the wind turbines have generated over 6,129,000 kWh of electricity – enough to offset power used by all homes on the island.
The UistWind project has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Best Community Project Award and the Best Engagement Award.
The Award ceremony was originally planned as a hybrid event, with guests at Edinburgh's EICC and an audience streaming virtually; but with the current rising cases in COVID-19 the entire event will now be held online, and for the first time will be free to attend.
Chris Morris, Local Energy Scotland Manager said “Congratulations to Ameena Camps and the team for getting shortlisted for a Green Energy Award. It’s fitting that the hard work of NUDC and the North Uist community is being recognised.
It’s more important than ever to celebrate good news and successes during these difficult times”.
The community owned ‘UistWind’ wind farm on North Uist achieved a significant milestone in September as it generated enough electricity to power every single home on the island of North Uist.
The two Enercon 900kW E44 wind turbines at Criongrabhal near Clachan-na-Luib generated 6,129,000 kWh of electricity between commissioning on 13th September 2019 and 8th September this year – just beating the annual consumption figure by 5 days.
This remarkable feat is just the latest accomplishment for a project that has overcome significant challenges on its way to becoming a success story that is an inspiration to other rural and island community energy projects.
The UistWind project was conceived as far back as 2010 but needed to overcome considerable financing and development hurdles before finally being commissioned in September 2019. A major part of this success was a community share offer, which raised £453,850 from more than 220 investors, allowing the project to proceed and providing a great example of community empowerment.
Now, the island community can benefit from green electricity which offsets enough to power all of its homes. Income from the electricity generated, meanwhile, will be invested in local community projects, creating opportunities to help combat depopulation.
Speaking for Locogen, project managers for the wind farm development, director Stuart Hamilton said: “After all the challenges of developing and constructing this project, it’s fantastic to see the first year of generation data and that important milestone being exceeded. We can now see the positive impact UistWind will have on the community for many years to come.”
Ameena Camps, project delivery manager at North Uist Development Company said: “This is an exciting major achievement for UistWind, for the community of North Uist and for the UK in helping to meet renewable energy targets; highlighting tenacity truly can reap many rewards. Thanks to the lenders: Triodos Bank UK and the Energy Investment Fund, Members of UistWind and everyone who has supported the project over the years of development, construction and now, operation”
This milestone is only the beginning for North Uist. UistWind project aims to create over £2million for the community over a projected 22 years, with profits going straight back to the community via North Uist Development Company’s charitable activities.
Mustapha Hocine, Chair of the North Uist Development Company (Trading) Ltd said “I am delighted that we have reached this key stage. The prospect is bright for UistWind and there is excitement amongst all involved about the benefits that will be able to be delivered to the community in the future”
Funding Success Secures North Uist School Asset Transfer
North Uist Development Company (NUDC) have successfully acquired Scottish Land Fund funding to purchase the former Lochmaddy Primary School from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and complete the asset transfer for the benefit of the community.
Lochmaddy Primary School was closed in 2016 along with Carinish and Paible, with pupils moved to a new single school site at Sgoil Uibhist a’ Tuath; following a council report in 2013. The School as it stands, at the edge of Lochmaddy village, was constructed in the 1970s, but the original building dates back to the late 19th Century; creating memories for generations of the North Uist community.
Catherine Macleod, Director, North Uist Development Company, said: "This is fantastic news for North Uist. This award will mean we can now move forward with the plans to re-open and sustainably develop the School for the benefit of the community”.
“The Community Hub will provide a multi-purpose focus for community and visitors alike: acting as a welcoming gathering place, an incubator for learning and enterprise and, an inspirational environmental centre to educate and conserve the unique local environment for generations into the future: - creating many new memories for North Uist”
Following years of community consultation, a feasibility study in 2018, and various planning reports including the architects’ concept designs; the Scottish Land Fund success of £19,779 marks a major milestone; being selected as one of six community projects across the Highlands and Islands to be awarded funding from the latest funding round. The development plans for Phase 1 of the project includes the Community Hub and, an Environment Centre which will be a new innovative facility showcasing the unique natural environment of the Uists: nurturing sustainable practices. A living environment with accommodation for visitors, students and temporary workers will be added in later phases of the project. This Community Hub enterprise will bring land and a building back into community use whilst focussing on widespread community needs and benefits.
Taken from the official Scottish Land Fund press release:
Minister, Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham said: “Communities across the country are playing a pivotal role in helping create a fairer and greener Scotland as we respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The latest round of Scottish Land Fund grants – provided to 21 different community groups – will go towards projects that will provide locals with better access to green space, encourage wildlife and support community businesses.
“With this funding being awarded during Climate Week, I look forward to these projects seizing the opportunity to help our green recovery.”
John Watt, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair said: "Groups from all across Scotland are making a real impact to their communities with a wide range of ambitious projects that deliver tangible benefits to the people who live there, and the Scottish Land Fund is delighted to be able to support them.”
The next steps for the Development Company are to complete the asset transfer, and open the former School so the North Uist community can start using it once again. Rentable space will be made available. The development will be undertaken in phases; and further funding is currently being sought for Phases 1 and 2: including for renewable energy for heating and electricity to support the environmental ethos of the development and Scotland’s green recovery.
More details can be found at www.isleofnorthuist.com and for those interested in renting a space within the School please contact the Company here.
Scottish Land Fund press release can be found at https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/news/press-releases/2020-09-17/community-groups-across-scotland-receive-1-6m-backing-from-the-scottish-land-fund
Empowering Islands To Achieve Their Energy And Climate Targets for Scotland and Ireland
NUDC presented key lessons from the Uist Wind project at the EU Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy webinar on the 19th of June; helping to empower islands and drive the renewable energy transition.
The road to becoming a fossil fuel-free and climate-ready island is not always smooth and easy and there are many obstacles in the way, particularly when island communities are directly involved in setting up renewable energy systems as in Scotland and Ireland. The webinar presented successful climate and energy solutions and methodologies in the Scottish and Irish islands, starting with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar – the Western Isles Council, one of the earliest PoI signatories and approaches pioneered in Ireland and Orkney; continuing with community projects on smaller islands and the lessons learnt. The webinar also considered the right conditions required for investing in local energy and climate action plans, inviting the convener of the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Roundtable to sum up the last 2 years roundtable conclusions, whilst NESOI – the European Clean Energy for EU Islands Facility presented how their approach will support the islands.
The presentation was well received, and NUDC hope the many challenges faced during the development and delivery of the Uist Wind project can help others avoid similar situations and empower groups to overcome obstacles.
For more details visit:
Green energy projects shortlisted for Scottish Renewables awards
UistWind, a North Uist Development Company (Trading) Limited (NUDC-T) and North Uist Development Company project (NUDC), has been selected as a finalist for the 2019 Scottish Green Energy Awards.
The annual awards will see 44 individuals, companies and projects vie to scoop prizes in 12 categories at a 1,200-guest ceremony on December 6 in Edinburgh. A NUDC-T Director and the NUDC project delivery manager will be attending the ceremony in December with crossed fingers and toes!
UistWind will be competing with 3 other projects for the Best Community Project Award, sponsored by SSE Renewables. The finalists are:
Uist wind passes 2 major milestones
The second wind turbine is now up after early problems with its concrete base meant the foundation had to be rebuilt. Timelapse footage by UistFilm captured the moment the rotor and blades for this turbine were installed (on August 20th), amid great excitement after the previous difficulties.
The first turbine is now generating electricity and began exporting power to the Grid for the first time on August 2nd. Construction of the first turbine was completed in July and there were celebrations when its blades began to turn for the first time on July 31st.
We also paid tribute to the personnel at the MoD and QinetiQ for working with us to facilitate the creation of the community-owned wind farm, overcoming challenges posed by its proximity to the Hebrides Range.
Finally construction was able to commence when NUDC raised £100,000 more than required for its equity stake in the UistWind project – reaching £452,850 – to build two 900kw turbines at Criongrabhal, near Clachan-na-Luib.
With feed-in tariff support, the turbines – which are due to be operational by October this year – will provide a set price for the electricity which is produced.
Despite fears of not meeting the target in November, when the total sat at around £317,000, a final push saw fundraising pass £400,000 on Christmas Eve.
Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government has played a part in making this important community project at Criongrabhal happen, by providing £575,095 of funding from our EIF towards the capital cost of the project.
“The community has also benefitted from important support through our Community and Renewable Energy Scheme.
“As someone who believes that such investments can be transformative for communities, it is absolutely fantastic to see the local island communities, and indeed communities and investors across Scotland, come together to support the project and help them exceed their equity stake.”
North Uist will get its community-owned wind farm next year, after our fundraising campaign passed £400,000 on Christmas Eve. The total raised by UistWind was £408,000 by close of play on December 24.
Our final fundraising drive was launched early in December and our NUDC development officers working on the project were greatly encouraged when the share offer hit £345,000 on December 19. By Christmas Eve, though, what was cautious optimism had given way to sheer delight.
Mustapha Hocine, chairman of North Uist Development Company, said: ‘It is the best possible Christmas present for North Uist that we have exceeded our target for the community share offer, and that we are now at £400,000.
‘This means that more people will benefit from the target interest rate of four per cent and it means that the community benefit will be even greater. Thank you to everyone who has invested in the project so far.’
NUDC aims to communicate project milestones and successes as widely as possible, and this news feed highlights key articles.