Last month I was in Coalburn for an event to update residents on the Spirit of Lanarkshire Wind Energy Cooperative.
The cooperative is encouraging local people and organisations to invest in a community share of Nutberry Wind Farm and another site, West Browncastle, near Strathaven.
Following the launch of the cooperative earlier this year there has been a great deal of local interest and the event was an excellent opportunity to find out more about how the project is progressing.
Through the share offer, communities have the chance to get involved in the ownership of the wind farm so rather than the profits going to large companies they stay in the area helping the local economy and contributing to green energy targets.
This is just one of a number of models being followed across the country to help give communities greater control over renewable projects. I am keen to see these models explored to ensure that communities receive the maximum benefit from the shift to renewable energy.
Following a presentation from organisers, those in attendance were bussed to the wind farm itself to see progress on the project. On the day I was joined by Tom Greatrex, MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, who is also the Shadow Minister for Energy in the UK Parliament. In my capacity as Scottish Labour’s Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change, and as a member of the cooperative group of MSPs, I also have a particular interest in this project.
Spirit of Lanarkshire has already raised close to two million pounds and aims to attract a total of £2.7 million, by next March. Individuals, businesses or any organisation may invest between £250 and £20,000 in the co-operative by purchasing shares. Priority is given to residents of South Lanarkshire.
The offer is due to close next March or when the £2.7m is achieved, whichever is the sooner.
Those keen to find out more about the project can do so by visiting www.spiritoflanarkshire.coop or calling Energy4All on 0845 373 3612.