Kilfinan Hydro Secures Finance

Kilfinan Community Forest to install hydro-electric scheme for long term sustainability to community enterprise

26th May 2015, Tighnabruaich, Argyll: Kilfinan Community Forest Company (KCFC) is delighted to announce it has secured a loan of £274K from Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF) and Social Investment Scotland (SIS), to install a 75kW hydro-electric scheme in the community forest. The run-of-river scheme will deliver reliable income to the charity for a minimum of twenty years, as the electricity generated will be sold to the National Grid under the Government’s feed-in-tariff scheme.

The scheme will be installed over the next two months by Co-hydro Ltd, a team of specialist contractors; installation will be overseen by KCFC and the system should be up and running by Autumn 2015. Once operational, the scheme will deliver monthly income to the charity, to benefit the local community through local employment, recreational facilities within the community forest, skills development and training opportunities, and community events.

KCFC’s operations manager, Robert Borruso, says: “After a busy year planning and working hard to satisfy funding requirements, we are pleased to have arrived at the construction phase of the project. The hydro will offer a backbone to our burgeoning enterprise; it will enable us to retain and take on more staff, and deliver important amenity improvements to the forest. It will also support our expansion of 434ha additional woodland, which will require intensive management over the coming years. Whilst timber harvesting in the new forest will offer substantial income in the medium term, the hydro will deliver a reliable flow of revenue to ensure we stay on a firm financial footing in the long term. We’d like to thank Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Local Energy Scotland (CARES) for their support during this process”.

 “Kerry Sharp, Head of the Scottish Investment Bank, which manages REIF for Scottish Enterprise on behalf of the Scottish Government says: “This is an exciting project which demonstrates how REIF can work closely with other funders to support small scale community renewable projects which have difficulty accessing mainstream funding. It also illustrates the potential for renewable energy in supporting local communities to achieve their ambitions and this is a key part of REIF’s remit.”

 Alistair Johnstone, Chief Investment Manager at Social Investment Scotland (SIS), says: “SIS has been delighted to work closely with the community at Kilfinan in partnership with REIF to bring about another community owned Hydro renewable scheme in Scotland. The social impact that these types of schemes provide to local communities cannot be overstated. We’re committed to helping deliver community renewable projects in Scotland, especially where the commercial banks are unable or unwilling to assist”.

The hydro will deliver a reliable flow of revenue to ensure we stay on a firm financial footing in the long term.