North Uist Development Company was declared winner of the Best Engagement Award for the UistWind project at the Scottish Green Energy Awards 2020 evening virtual event on November 26.
UistWind was shortlisted as a finalist in two categories: Best Community Project Award and Best Engagement Award; announced by Scottish Renewables in October after considering over 100 entries. More than 800 tuned in to the awards to recognise achievements from the renewables industry, with 12 judges to decide which finalists would receive 13 prestigious awards.
Locogen director and project manager, Stuart Hamilton said: “Wow! What a great way to end such a difficult year. Community energy is at the very heart of what we do at Locogen. In UistWind we found a project team and community who share our passion. This award provides well-deserved recognition to all those involved, who repeatedly overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to deliver a successful project that will benefit the community for many years to come.”
UistWind is a 1.8MW community owned wind farm in North Uist. The project was conceived as far back as 2010 but needed to overcome considerable financing, development, and construction hurdles before finally being commissioned in September 2019. Operational hurdles followed, including this year’s COVID-19 pandemic.
Ameena Camps, Project Delivery Manager at NUDC accepted the award on behalf the Company “Wow, thank you so much! It is an honour to accept this award on behalf of UistWind. This award is for the Members, the lenders Triodos and EIF, and for the community of North Uist who made this project possible.
“We have worked hard to actively engage and communicate as widely as possible right through to the most recent challenges, so the wider community feel part of the team. It was apt to have the local school children cut the ceremonial ribbon marking the opening of the site last year, representing the future generations of North Uist who will benefit from the project. Personally, I would like to thank my Mom, Susan Camps, who gave me the strength, determination and problem solving ability to tackle obstacles and passed away earlier this year.
“To all who have supported the project over the many very challenging years, and to Locogen for nominating us – we did it!”
UistWind was praised at the award ceremony for its engagement and communication during the many years of challenges; and, particularly for the North Uist Development Company’s (NUDC’s) work to spread the message of lessons learnt across the world to empower other communities whilst helping to avoid similar challenges in the future.
Andrew Ross, Director said “North Uist Development Company is delighted to win this Award. We would like to take the opportunity to thank the North Uist community for their continuing support for Uist Wind, as well as all the various stakeholders and in particular all those who invested in the project via our community share offer, which made the project possible.
“Getting the necessary permissions, raising the finance and getting our two turbines erected have all presented enormous challenges to our small community group. The fact that we managed to overcome all these challenges and that our project is now up and running – and generating above budget – is testament to all the support we have enjoyed from the community, our investors and key stakeholders.
“It is particularly rewarding that we are now able to pass on some of what we have learned to other groups trying to get renewable energy projects off the ground. There are many obstacles in the way of developing these projects nowadays, but if we can help groups navigate through these to increase the likelihood of success for other clean green energy projects across Scotland, that is great!”
North Uist Development Company is advising community groups and individuals to be on their guard against scams targeting bank accounts.
NUDC and NUDC (Trading) Ltd have recently been the victim of a sophisticated telephone-based scam, which unfortunately resulted in the loss of some money. This is now the subject of an ongoing investigation by the police and the bank, and the Companies are hopeful of recovering the funds.
The accounts targeted were unconnected with investments made in the wind turbine project or income generated by the turbines. These funds are held at a separate bank and were unaffected.
The police have advised that the islands are currently being targeted by fraudsters using new and sophisticated techniques to defraud individuals, community groups and charities. So everyone should be vigilant.