The second Falck Renewables Sustainable Communities Awards Dinner and Forum, our annual gathering dedicated to the local communities around our wind farms in the United Kingdom, took place on 20th and 21st of November in the Scottish locations of Dunblane and Fintry, outside Stirling.
Around 60 representatives from local communities, BenComs and Scottish institutions/organisations devoted to environmental awareness and sustainable development took part in the event. We were also honoured to welcome a Norwegian delegation, from Svelgen city council, where we are very close to completing the construction of our next wind farm.
Newly established BenComs, Assel Valley Community Renewable Society and Auchrobert Community Energy Society, have been celebrated together with Energy4All after successfully raising £2.5m in community shares in 2019 for financing Falck Renewables Assel Valley and Auchrobert wind farms.
Two projects won the Best Decarbonisation Project 2019. The first project, “Seeing the Light in Kirkmuirhill Community Centre & Men’s Shed” submitted by Thornton Road Community Centre Association (Auchrobert wind farm, South Lanarkshire), aims to half the use of energy at Kirkmuirhill Community Centre and the Men’s Shed by installing 30 PV solar panels and storage batteries to save at least £1,000 every year. The project also includes the installation of a charging point for electric vehicle & electric bikes. The jury was impressed by the comprehensive use of green energy, as well as the anticipated cost savings foreseen which could be used to support further projects in the community.
The project submitted by Carron Valley Renewables Group’s (Earlsburn wind farm, Stirlingshire) “Cee-Vee-Eee-Bee-Gee”, aims to expand an existing scheme promoting the use of electric bikes. It hopes to encourage even more people to commute by bike. Benefits for the community will be improved health and reduction in car journeys (the most common commuting route is 7 miles to/from Stirling). Measures of success will include collating the number of bike miles completed by new e-bike users. Our judges were impressed with the group’s combined commitment to reducing the community’s carbon footprint at the same time as improving local people’s health.
At the Awards Dinner we took the opportunity to present Falck Renewables Support Scheme for Sustainable Energy Studies 2019. The recipients were Mr Tom Adamson (Kilbraur windfarm) who will study geoenergy at the University of Edinburgh and the MCINNES Group Ltd. (Fort Augustus, Millennium) to upskill its staff in the areas of biomass heating engineering, air source engineering & solar thermal engineering at the University of Highlands and Islands, in Inverness.
The following day, the second Falck Renewables Sustainable Communities Forum took place in Fintry where we kicked off by paying a visit to Strathendrick Biogas Energy Plant, kindly hosted by its owner Robert Kennedy. We then enjoyed demonstration by Mel Riddell on the Little Lighthouse Education Project – an initiative we have been involved in with the Scottish Council on Development and Industry (SCDI) to offer school children around our wind farms a practical experience of renewable energy.
Gordon Cowtan, Director of the Fintry Development Trust, gave an interesting insight on local pioneering initiatives to achieve a carbon free community by 2030.
The afternoon session showcased many inspiring sustainable and inclusive development initiatives being spearheaded by the communities that host our plants.
We have always believed that partnerships with local people are the key to success. The aim of this event was to celebrate those partnerships and highlight best practices and creating shared value in local communities.
Thanks to all the people that made the event a success, congratulations to the winners and a big thank to all our friends in the communities.
See U next year!