This week some 2500 world leaders, CEOs of multinationals, academics and other assorted grandees descended on the little town of Davos in Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF). The chosen theme for this year’s gathering is Globalisation 4.0 – the fourth wave of globalisation, characterised by digitally-enabled services.

Among other waves of change this will bring, it’s hoped that Globalisation 4.0 will help counter climate change and, according to the WEF’s Klaus Schwab, create a world of private-private partnerships that guide the free market to create economic growth, sustainability and social benefits.

These are laudable aspirations – but perhaps rather remote to those of us not currently being fêted in an alpine resort. Closer to home, Climate for Change partner Low Carbon Scotland emphasises in the article below that a sustainable future cannot be delivered by government alone and that “partnerships between all sectors are vital in overcoming the challenges and in discovering new opportunities to help create a better future that we all want for Scotland”.

As Paul Wheelhouse, Minster for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands pointed out in a report published by Friends of the Earth Scotland, shared ownership of renewable energy is an important example of partnership between industry and local communities that supports community development, low carbon energy generation and – importantly – the local economy.

The Scottish Government wants 50% of all renewable energy projects to include an element of shared ownership by 2020 in addition to the 1GW target for community and locally produced energy and – among other developments – in 2017 gave the green light to the 50-turbine South Kyle Wind Farm, allowing Swedish energy company Vattenfall to accelerate discussions with communities in East Ayrshire and north Galloway, offering them a right to buy up to 5% in the £190m, 170MW project.

Vattenfall announced that it will provide a community benefit fund of £5,000 per MW installed per year over the South Kyle’s operational lifetime and 150 local businesses initially registered their interest. 

Planning a wind farm and gaining consent doesn’t ensure a rapid result though: Guy Mortimer, Vattenfall’s head of development said that while the decision was good news for climate change targets there was a “long way to go” before the farm was operational. The proposals had gone to a public inquiry in 2015 after an initial application two years earlier and the project was in planning for a total of four years. But there is clearly a growing interest in shared ownership of renewable energy, with proposals and projects now including Spurness in Orkney, Millennium South Windfarm in the hills north of Invergarry, Donich Hydro near Lochgoilhead and as far south as Crossdykes Wind Farm in Dumfries and Galloway. 

And they’ve now established a proven record. The community of Fintry between the Campsie Fells and the Fintry Hills was the pioneer when back in 2003 it began exploring options that led to it buying into the nearly Earlsburn Wind Farm, asking the commercial developer to provide an additional ‘community turbine’ to the planned 14.

Fintry Renewable Energy Enterprise Limited (FREE) entered a joint venture agreement with Falck Renewables, the first partnership of its kind in the UK, then formed Fintry Development Trust (FDT) which is governed by a board of local residents.

The Trust has now been running for over ten years and in that time has earned around £750,000 from the relationship with Earlsburn Windfarm. This money has been used to fund and facilitate a wide variety of energy-focussed initiatives in the community such as handing householders grants for carbon-reducing measures, providing an outdoor classroom and solar panels for Fintry Primary School, installing a woodchip-fuelled district heating scheme for 25 homes, trialing a rural car and cycle club and securing staff to provide energy advice and manage the individual initiatives.

The Trust continues to develop pioneering energy saving projects, such as a ground source district heating system for 19 more homes in 2019.

While it was heartening to see Sir David Attenborough being interviewed by Prince William in Davos asking for the best advice to his generation on saving the planet from environmental catastrophe, it is equally reassuring that such high-profile efforts are underpinned by a growing network of productive partnerships in rural Scotland.

HeraldScotland:

The Herald’s Climate for Change initiative supports efforts being made by the Scottish Government with key organisations and campaign partners. Throughout the year we will provide a forum in The Herald newspaper, online at herald.scotland.com and in Business HQ magazine, covering news and significant developments in this increasingly crucial area.

If you are interested in contributing editorially or interested in becoming a Climate for Change
partner, please contact Stephen McTaggart on 0141 302 6137 or email stephen.mctaggart@heraldandtimes.co.uk

In association with . . .

HeraldScotland:

THE SCOTTISH ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AGENCY (SEPA)

A non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government oversees environmental regulation, monitors and reports on the state of the environment, raises awareness of environmental issues, and resolves environmental harms. 

www.sepa.org.uk

HeraldScotland:

LOW CARBON SCOTLAND

Organiser of conferences and events aimed at addressing the current carbon reduction position, enabling those leading and driving policies and proposals to share their vision, and highlighting Scotland as the best place in which to invest in low-carbon businesses.

www.low-carbonscotland.scot

HeraldScotland:

SCOTTISH FUNDING COUNCIL

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is helping make Scotland the best place in the world to educate, to research and to innovate. Investing around £1.8 billion of public money each year, SFC’s funding enables Scotland’s colleges and universities to provide life-changing opportunities for over half a million people.

www.sfc.ac.uk

HeraldScotland:

NEWTON PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

A Scottish Property Factor with nationwide coverage. Newton have ambitious plans to help future proof their customers’ properties, making them greener, cleaner and more energy efficient resulting in significant savings in running costs.

www.newtonproperty.co.uk

HeraldScotland:

The Conferderation of Passenger Transport - Scotland

The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT) is recognised by Government as the voice of the bus and coach industry, and the focus for consultation on national and international legislation, local regulations, operational practices and engineering standards.

www.cpt-uk.org