Following on from sponsoring ResPublica’s The Community Renewables Economy, launched in Westminster by Energy Minister Greg Barker MP last year, Infinergy has now taken the discussion to the Scottish Parliament.
At Holyrood, Edinburgh, community ownership of onshore wind developments was the main topic during the first event of its kind in the Scottish Parliament, which brought together community groups, funders, developers and parliamentarians to discuss and promote community ownership of onshore wind projects in Scotland.
The event was hosted by Rob Gibson MSP, a strong promoter of community renewables, and allowed community groups from across Scotland to hear from supportive MSPs and the Minister for Local Government and Planning Derek Mackay MSP. The Planning Minister, who is responsible for community planning, set out the Scottish Government’s vision for greater community involvement and ownership of onshore wind.
Local Energy Scotland and the Scottish Investment Bank contributed speeches during the event. Community groups from as far south as Dumfries & Galloway and as far north as the Highlands attended the event.
Rob Gibson SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross said:
“Community ownership of onshore wind turbines is on the rise. They deserve a special place in the Scottish planning process where the top line is sustainable economic growth. I am supporting wind energy producers whose work is appreciated in many communities who gave their full support to this event.”
Infinergy’s MD Esbjorn Wilmar said that community ownership would be embraced by more developers if it was recognised in the planning process, stating:
“I truly believe that working collaboratively and ensuring benefits are seen across the entire sector is the key to the success of this country’s renewable energy policies and targets.
“At the moment the planning system only gives limited consideration to the benefit that community ownership can bring and if community ownership is taking into account by the planning then we will see communities and developers working more closely together.”