Christmas joy as UistWind fundraiser passes £400,000

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North Uist will get its community-owned wind farm next year, after the fundraising campaign passed £400,000 on Christmas Eve.

The total raised by UistWind – a project driven by the North Uist Development Company (Trading) – was £408,000 by close of play on December 24.

The project is for two 900kW turbines at Criongrabhal, near Clachan-na-Luib, which will cost around £3.5million to build. Commercial loans are covering most of it, but the community still needed to raise a minimum of £350,000 as its equity stake in the project.

A final fundraising drive was launched early in December and 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.’

Construction was due to begin at the end of December and be completed in July 2019.

UistWind has full planning permission and a licence to sell its electricity to the National Grid. There is also space reserved on the current cable for its power to be exported to the mainland.

The project could be the last renewable development in the Outer Hebrides to be built with Feed-In-Tariff support, which provides a cost-based price for the electricity supplied, and is likely to be the last project to be accommodated by the current cable, before it hits capacity. After that, an upgraded connection or a new interconnector will be necessary to allow any more developments.