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Community-owned South Uist windfarm given refinancing support

Scotland’s biggest community-owned windfarm has secured a £8.5m refinancing deal from Lombard and the Royal Bank of Scotland, securing its operation and other community projects.

The 6.9MW windfarm, located on South Uist estate and owned by Stòras Uibhist, generates an average of 22,695 MWh a year, enough to supply 850 tenant crofters with electricity, as well as providing an income for the communities of Eriskay, South Uist and parts of Benbecula.

Stòras Uibhist, a community-owned company, oversees the operation of the windfarm, in addition to a number of other projects across the 93,000-acre South Uist Estate, including the management and maintenance of the Bonnie Prince Charlie trail, the Lochboisdale Harbour and the world-renowned Askernish Golf Course.

Purchased in 2006 at a cost of £4.6 million, the acquisition of South Uist estate remains the largest community buyout since the Land Reform Act was passed by the Scottish Government in 2003.

Mary Schmoller, Chairwoman of Stòras Uibhist, said: “The goal of Stòras Uibhist is to support and protect the natural, social and economic assets of the islands to create a vibrant and sustainable economy, one that attracts people, both to visit, live and work.

“The windfarm not only ensures the islands have a sustainable source of electricity, it also generates income we can reinvest back into the communities of South Uist, Eriskay and Benbecula to boost the economy, protect local crofting practices and generate employment opportunities for future generations.

“We’d like to thank Royal Bank of Scotland and Lombard for its support and understanding of our goals.”

Iain McFee, Senior Relationship Manager, Western Isles at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Stòras Uibhist is working to secure the future of these islands and the revenue generated by the windfarm is a key part of this. We’re pleased to be supporting a business that puts the interests of community first.”

Bryan Fashola, Director of Specialist Sectors at Lombard said: “As one of the leading enablers of investment in the renewable and energy efficiency market, we are pleased to have supported Stòras Uibhist in ensuring continuity of this significant and impactful community-owned project, as we continue to play our part in helping accelerate the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy.”

Adam Beach
Article by Adam Beach
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