Udny schools celebrate as turbine foundations laid

UDNY community councillors were joined by pupils representing both the parish schools on Tuesday, in a ceremony marking the official opening of the community wind turbine.

Dozens of local residents turned out for the event, on an extremely windy day at Tillymaud Farm just to the south-east of Udny Green, where the 800kW turbine is being built.

Youngsters from both schools gave suggestions on what they would like to see done with the money, and made plans to bury a time capsule which will be unearthed in twenty years time when the structure is decommissioned.

The project, which is the first wholly community-owned wind turbine in mainland Scotland, will generate hundreds of thousands of pounds for the benefit of local people.

After five years of waiting, the turbine itself will be erected over the next seven to ten days, and will start generating electricity in May.

Community councilllor Garth Entwhistle told the Times that the project had taken a long time to come to fruition, but that he hard work as well worth it.

“It’s fairly exciting,” he told the Times. “This is the first community built, developed and owned turbine in mainland Scotland. It’s being built on the second windiest part of Udny Parish, with a twenty year lease from the landowner. The government talks about ideas for a ‘Big Society’: we’ve started it here in Udny!”

Chairman of Udny Community Council Brian McDougall agreed, adding that the community stands to benefit significantly from the project.

“The project will start turning a profit in Year 2, and between Years 5 and 11 will generate around £100,000 per annum. After that, it will generate £250,000 per annum until it is decommisioned.

“We’ll be paid quaterly by the company who buy the electricity from us, Smartest Energy, who then sell it on to companies who specifically buy cleanly generated electricity.”

“As a wholly community-owned and managed project, people will see tangible benefits from this turbine - it certainly makes the pill easier to swallow for local people if they can see money generated going back into the community.

“The money will be a big help, particularly in the midst of massive anticipated cuts to local services.”

Bruce Taylor, Senior Consultant with Green Cat Renewables,said that the turbine was ideally situated.

The project was given the go-ahead last year after consultations with local residents which returned an overwhelmingly positive opinion. The £1.25 million project secured both lottery and council funding, with a 20-year lease secured on land belonging to local farmer Rob Smith.