Improving the skills of local workers to encourage more use of renewable technology is the aim of a new initiative funded by Falck Renewables, the owner of Millennium Wind Farm, south west of Glenmoriston.
Highland based McInnes Group was awarded the £4,000 grant to support renewable energy studies, after being proposed by the Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Company. The annual award is made at the Sustainable Communities Forum which brings together local communities from across Scotland who live near a Falck Wind Farm.
The McInnes Group had been keen to improve the skills of their workforce so they can install biomass, air source and solar thermal heating systems in local homes.
Now 16 engineers and apprentices will be trained to install the new technology and receive BPEC accreditation through the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).
Lachie McInnes, who comes from Glenmoriston, was delighted to accept the award, saying: “There is a real shortage of people locally who have the right skills and accreditation to install renewable energy technologies. We’re delighted to have been selected for this award as upskilling our workforce will make a real difference to the local community. We know of people who want these systems installed but have to wait for ages for a company from the central belt to come up and do it.
As part of the arrangement, McInnes Group will carry out “in kind” work in the local area to help the local community. But as Harry Whiteside from Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Company explained, the company are already a good neighbour: “Lachie and his brother, who lives in Glenmoriston, regularly offer support to people in the local community, and recently fixed the boiler in the village hall without charge. We’re delighted they have been chosen for this award.”
The Support For Renewable Energy Studies award is made annually. As Richard Dibley, Managing Director of Falck Renewables explained: “One of our main aims is to be a good neighbour in the areas in which we have our wind farms. We’re also keen to encourage people to qualify in subjects related to renewable energy, so this latest award achieves both these aims.”