Insch celebrates green energy funding boost

An Aberdeenshire community has received £6 milllion from the Scottish Government for a green energy project that will assist with the replacement of the local hospital.

Insch Renewable Energy Consortium (IREC) was given the boost to help develop a community energy system that will reduce electricity costs and provide the Friends of Insch Hospital with funding for the community hospital construction.

The funding was confirmed on Tuesday by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing.

etrThe Energyzing Insch Project is an ambitious plan to develop an integrated heat, power and fibre optic broadband network for the village and surrounding rural area.

IREC’s aim is to take electricity directly from wind turbines at Tillymorgan and Jericho via a community-owned underground cable into an energy hub located on the outskirts of the village.

A total of five projects across Scotland will benefit from the £20 million being made available through the Local Energy Challenge Fund.

The fund was announced by former First Minister and Aberdeenshire East MSP Alex Salmond last year and is seen as underlining Scotland’s position as a global leader in renewables and low carbon development.

Mr Salmond said: “The Energyzing Insch Project, and schemes like it, represent a huge step towards fulfilling the Scottish Government’s aim of having 500MW of renewables in the community and locally-owned by 2020.

“I am very pleased that Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has announced that up to £500,000 will be available through a second round of the Challenge Fund for 2015/16 helping to ensure that even more communities are empowered to take on an economic stake in new developments.”

The annoucement has been greeted with delight in the Insch community.

West Garioch Councillor Allison Grant said: “This grant is hugely significant for the residents of the village as it enables Insch Renewable Energy Consortium (IREC) to bring their truly innovative and pioneering plans to fruition.

“The IREC team have worked very hard on this ground-breaking project that will deliver major benefit to the local community for many years to come.”