For the UK, an island surrounded by water, hydropower is expected to significantly help phase out fossil fuels and replace them with renewable energies. Contributing to the transition, a group of young environmentalists on the Scottish Isle of Raasay are hoping to raise £600,000 by 23rd February 2021 to develop two community-owned hydro schemes.
To serve the local community and improve their environmental impact, the projects Inverarish Burn Hydro and the Mine Burn Hydro will reduce annual CO2 emissions by 127 tonnes. The schemes will provide an average of 520,000 kWh in electricity each year, nearly enough to cover all energy use by the island’s 170 residents.
An offer to buy shares in the project was launched on 12th January 2021 by the community benefit society Raasay Community Renewables Ltd (RCR). They see the hydro schemes as the path to an environmentally sustainable and financially resilient future for the islanders.
One of the RCR members behind the project, Ross Gillies, said: “We have raised over £307,000 in grants to support the build and we need a further £600,000 to bring the project to completion. The substantial grant support of £300,000 from the SSE Sustainable Development Fund has been a tremendous boost for the project and has enabled us to progress to our share offer.”
The RCR’s plan includes a Community Benefit Fund, set up to distribute a proportion of the income generated to members of the community, supporting local organisations and causes. They intend to distribute the funds in a way that meets the community’s needs and supports environmentally beneficial projects.
MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Kate Forbes, said: “A community hydro scheme has been a long time in the making for Raasay, and it was great to see the work starting on forestry. I know there is a lot of work to do – not least in raising funding – but it’s exciting to see this progress. I hope there will be widespread interest and the community will be able to reach their funding target in time.”
Prospective investors can buy shares ranging from £125 to £65,000. The interest rate at 4 per cent the first payment made in 2024.
To buy shares in the hydro project visit their fundraising page, which closes on 23rd February 2021.