6 yrs
EWEA's Opinion

EWEA's opinion

12.05.2009

Embracing the wind pays big dividends for Scottish town

Mitigating climate change, increasing energy supplies for a growing population and reducing national dependence on expensive and polluting foreign fuels are all complex,  pressing inter-related problems.

Dealing with these problems can also seem, at times anyway, an overwhelmingly daunting global challenge that requires so much cooperation, so much government intervention, so much goodwill and faith in the future that it is destined to fail.

And yet Fintry, a small Scottish village north of Glasgow, is already doing more than its bit to meet that formidable challenge, and making considerable money at the same time.

Fintry’s secret? The forward-looking village residents decided to embrace the wind.

They actually asked surprised wind farm developer West Coast Energy to include an extra turbine that the local residents could purchase in order to share in the eventual profits. The village borrowed 2.8 million euros for the turbine and, as a result, says it has become one of the greenest communities in Britain.

Those decisions, according to a recent Guardian article, are already paying off handsomely. Although the wind farm has only been operational for more than a year, Fintry has earned 156,000 euros that is earmarked towards village energy efficiency projects. About half of the 300 local homes have already been insulated and some owners are experiencing significant reductions in their heating bills. Upon retiring its turbine debt, the newspaper reports, Fintry’s new sustainable electricity source might make up to 557,000 euros for the village annually.

“As far as we are aware, we are the only community in the UK to have gone down this route,” Gordon Cowtan of the Fintry Development Trust told the Guardian. “I think it’s a great shame it has not happened before.”

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) heartily concurs. The dark shadow of
self-interested, status-quo-seeking NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard) has for too long thwarted needed technological and societal change. As most concerned citizens already know, change, especially because of global warming, problematic energy supplies and the beleaguered economy, is necessary and inevitable. It is also, as evidenced in Fintry, beginning to happen.

Despite that, so much more needs to be done if humankind is to stop any further damage to the planet as a result of still-escalating carbon dioxide emissions associated with burning fossil fuels that boil our atmosphere, our only atmosphere, to unlivable levels.

From the big picture to the small, however, from the macro to the micro, EWEA salutes Fintry’s residents who have no doubt studied the issue, realised that wind power can make a great contribution to de-carbonisation while providing new green jobs, and got on with implementation.

Good for them, good for all of us. Since time is of the essence, here’s hoping many more communities follow. One day tiny Fintry just might be remembered as ground zero in our transformative green revolution. Let’s hope so.

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