Voting for renewable energy in Leith

So near to winning. The ambitious scheme for the Portobello and Leith Wind Turbine will succeed if enough people vote for it on the Energy Share Fund website. Right now it’s in second place  and it’s beginning to look very close indeed.   If we can all encourage friends to vote before 3 December Edinburgh could gain the first community-owned wind project in a UK city. You just need to click here.

According to Al Tibbitt of Greener Leith, the award would mean £80,000 for the Leith scheme and it would not be the end of the story. But the money would help to pay for essential research (bird studies, wind monitoring and so on) as well as the cost of submitting planning and grid connection applications.  All  working towards the goal of a handsome turbine capable of supplying energy for up to 1300 local homes.  But of course there is much more to a windmill than electricity.

I may be biased, but I feel the turbines actually add to our skyline, rather than detracting from it. [The Island of Gigha website]

There are all sorts of myths and plain old fashioned lies about windmills, but you just have to look to the success of community schemes like Gigha to see how well-designed projects can bring new hope and pride as well as real tangible benefits to local neighbourhoods. On Gigha, The Dancing Ladies (more prosaically, the first community wind project in Scotland) have generated enough income to build new homes and bring people back to live on the island.  What’s more they paid for themselves within six years. In fact the scheme has been so successful the Isle of Gigh Heritage Trust is now raising money for a fourth turbine.

Leith and Portobello are not an island, but these urban communities could share the same benefits of regeneration; the renewed pride and hope that goes along with investment in homes, jobs and opportunities for young people.

And, given pride of place, windmills have a way of winning hearts, minds and tourists!  On Gigha a walk to see the Dancing Ladies is now a popular tourist attraction.

This is how Gigha schoolchildren greeted the arrival of the Dancing Ladies in 2003 (I hope they won’t mind me grabbing the images off their website: see them for yourselves here).

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