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Power to a community

IF Scotland is to meet its ambitious target of having 100% of the country's electricity produced by renewable sources by 2020, hydro power will have an important part to play.

And if the provision of such schemes brings financial gain to local communities, that is a development to be applauded.

The few hundred people who live on the Morvern peninsula find themselves pioneers of this new era in energy generation.

They have become the first community group in Scotland to invest their own money in the development of a hydro scheme on land managed by Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS). The community has invested £30,000 in the scheme. In return, it will get a free 5% stake in the project, plus the standard £5000 per annum per megawatt community benefit payment that is associated with renewable projects. At nearly half a megawatt the Morvern scheme will earn about £2500 a year for the community from this source.

Co-operation of this sort between FCS - which over the years has not been without its critics - and residents can only be welcomed. It is to be hoped that this initiative will be the first of many.

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