Construction has begun on a community wind farm project in North Uist after the project surpassed its fundraising target.
The North Uist Development Company (NUDC) raised an extra £100,000 more than needed 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 electricity supplied.
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.
Mustapha Hocine, chair of NUDC (Trading) Ltd, said: “I am delighted that we have reached this key stage in the development of the North Uist Renewable project.
“With the support of all our investors and our lenders, Triodos Bank and EIF, we can now enter the construction phase of this important community project with a high level of confidence.
“I echo the many thanks that have been stated elsewhere, but in particular want to pay tribute to the unwavering support of my fellow directors of NUDC, the North Uist community and the over 240 investors who have made this project possible.”
More than £2 million will be generated during the project’s 22-year lifespan, which will be reinvested in good causes by the community.
“Significant” financial support was also given by the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme.
Paul Wheelhouse – Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands – said he was “delighted” with the progress of the project.
He added: “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.
“The team at North Uist Development Company has worked tirelessly to overcome a number of challenges and I want to congratulate them for all their hard work and their achievements to date.
“I wish them every success with the construction phase of the project and look forward to seeing the turbines in action – benefitting the local North Uist community for years to come.”