Fergus Ewing MSP Minister for Business Energy and Tourism pressed the button to start the turbine at the community hydro on Harlaw Reservoir this morning.
This event marks the culmination of six years of planning, fundraising and managing by members of the Balerno community.
Harlaw Hydro is a community benefit society owned by its 250 community shareholders who together have invested £400K to make it all happen.
There have been no public funds or bank loans involved. The profits generated by selling power to the Grid will be used to sustain the scheme in the first place, pay the shareholders a dividend and then benefit the local community. Members of the Balerno Village Trust formed this new organisation to realise the ambition of generating an income for projects that support the development of a more sustainable community. They will be able to use the money that it brings in for the local area.
It is expected that over the 20 years of the guaranteed income from the FIT (Feed in Tariff) scheme that more than £1M will flow in to the local area.
Martin Petty Chairman of Harlaw Hydro Limited said:“At its peak water in the Water of Leith valley powered 70 water wheels, it was the main source of power for industry in West Edinburgh. To see some of that power being harnessed as green energy and also generating revenue for the community is wonderful.”
”I am delighted that the Hydro project is now a reality. From the initial ideas from within the Balerno Village Trust, this great team formed Harlaw Hydro to take this concept to fruition. Not only does Harlaw Hydro start to generate renewable power, it generates income, using the Balerno Village Trust to oversee the community reinvestment”. Keith Taylor – Chair of Balerno Village Trust
Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Community energy is a key priority for the Scottish Government; it provides an opportunity to spread the benefits, and our support for community projects reflects their importance in empowering communities to take control of their local resources. The Harlaw project is a great example of this and I want to congratulate all involved for making this happen.”