What challenge was the inspiration for your project?
Garth Wind Limited is operated by North Yell Development Council, which is a charity dedicated to community development for our area. Our motto - ‘Enterprise, Initiative and Self-Help’ -was adopted a long time ago and this project fits into this aspiration well.
We had been impressed by what other communities were doing with wind power and we felt that this could be a project that we could undertake to provide green energy and to give the community some income. We felt that this could bring enormous benefits to our whole area.
What was your innovation that addresses this problem?
In 2003 it was decided to proceed with a project to build five wind turbines producing 4.5 megawatts of green energy for the Shetland grid, and to earn an income for the community. There have been many problems whilst developing the project, including obtaining a grid connection and planning and land issues. These were a huge challenge for the group, so it is a proud moment for the community now that the windfarm is complete.
What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?
We chose Triodos Bank because we were aware of their track record in assisting similar projects elsewhere in Scotland, and also because of their experience in working alongside Scottish Development agencies. This, along with the bank’s ethical stance, gave us confidence that they would make a good partner in our venture. The bank was the major lender, and this ensured that the project could go ahead. We have worked very closely with Triodos staff, and their co-operation has ensured the smooth running of the project.
What impact has your business/organisation had on the sector you work in?
The windfarm that we have developed will produce 4.5 megawatts of green energy. This will replace fossil fuel generation in Shetland under a special arrangement with the grid operator. This will also help meet Scottish, UK and European targets for renewable generation.
What impact has your business/organisation had on the community?
North Yell Development Council was formed in the late 1940s, and has engaged with the community to assist development and progress since then. This project was on a much greater scale than anything ever attempted before, and presented huge challenges. The operation has been supported and enabled by volunteers, apart from the employment of a project manager in the latter stages. The whole community took a great interest in the construction phase and have been very supportive despite some short term disruption while work was taking place.
How does Triodos Bank share your vision?
Triodos Bank claim on their website that they offer “sustainable banking, using the power of finance to support projects that benefit people and the planet. We believe that banking can be a powerful force for good: serving individuals and communities as well as building a more sustainable society.”
This statement fits well with the charitable objectives which are the basis of our association’s commitment to our community, and also the old motto, Enterprise, Initiative and Self-Help.