Mar 9 2012 by Kaiya Marjoribanks, Stirling Observer Friday
FINTRY is talking independence this weekend – energy independence-
The village is celebrating the fifth anniversary of a project to take residents out of fuel poverty and free them from oil price hikes.
Fintry Development Trust (FDT) has dramatically increased the spread of households running on micro-renewables in the last year and a half.
More than 15 per cent of Fintry households now benefit from micro-renewable heating or generation systems through FDT’s innovative advice service.
FDT aims to help increase the number of homes with micro-renewable installations to 80 per cent by 2015 – five years before the Scottish Government 2020 targets.
The Stirlingshire village of Fintry, with around 300 households, has used the income from a wind turbine to undertake one of the most successful retrofit schemes in Scotland to insulate more than half its existing housing. It has helped to buy a new heating system for the village hall and supported the Fintry Sports Club in replacing its oil fired heating with a biomass boiler using wood pellets for heating and hot water system.
On top of that, the village has launched a car sharing scheme to fill the gap left when all of its regular buses were withdrawn – and planted a community orchard, as well as developing a community growing scheme, to create a local food source.
The Fintry Development Trust was established five years ago to manage the income from one turbine in a nearby wind farm built by a commercial developer. It borrowed money from the developer to buy its share in the windfarm and once that is paid back looks forward to a profit of around £400,000 per annum. But already the village is benefiting from regular sums, averaging £40,000 to £70,000 per annum, which it invests in local projects.
Next on the list is investigating the potential for a local source of wood fuel and the Trust hopes to eradicate fuel poverty entirely, through district heating schemes. Five years ago more than half the households were suffering fuel poverty (spending more than 10 per cent of their income on fuel). Schoolchildren are already learning about the benefits of local forestry by having their own woodland classroom.
Today (Friday) and tomorrow, the village hosts the Fintry Renewable Energy Show (FRESh). Today leading experts on land use and green energy are taking part in a Moving Conversation debate, “Power to the People: the Citizen and Energy Independence”, chaired by former BBC Scotland environment correspondent Louise Batchelor, who reported on Fintry’s ambitions when there was nothing to see but a windswept hillside.
Speakers include Maitland Mackie, one of Scotland’s best known dairy farmers, now campaigning for a massive network of community-owned wind turbines; Andy Wightman, expert on land reform and community land ownership; Max Carcus, a pioneer in renewable energy – who helped develop the world’s first commercial wave farm with the Pelamis (sea-snake ) device; and Eva Schonveld a member of PEDAL, Portobello's transition group , an urban community, which is working on how to reduce its carbon footprint and build a sustainable future.
The two days of FRESh are packed with activity including a local market, tours of a community woodland classroom. open doors visits to FDT projects and household and commercial renewable installations, trips to the Fintry turbine, exhibits, speakers, Moving Conversation Debate, FDT sponsored pub quiz, FRESh food offers at newly community owned Fintry Inn, and loads of activities for all ages at Fintry Primary School ranging from ecology workshops, growing activities.
More information from project manager Kelly McIntyre by emailing: email@example.com, telephone 07769 204 560 or go to: www.fintrydt.org.uk