Welcome to the Allt Dearg and Sròndoire Community Wind Farms website
The Allt Dearg Community Wind Farm is different to most commercial wind farms in Argyll, as it is locally owned and controlled. It is also different to other community wind farms, as it has been financed without any public sector grant or loan.
Argyll and the West Highlands are remote and economically fragile. However, we are blessed with good opportunities to produce clean, renewable energy. The very weather and ground conditions that frustrate agriculture and tourism are ideal for wind and hydro power. We believe that responsible management and stewardship of resources is fundamental to land ownership and, wherever possible, these developments should be locally owned and controlled in order to retain the maximum benefit within the local community.
The unique partnership of local land owners, specialist investors and the Ardrishaig Community took over Allt Dearg wind farm on 25 January 2013 - three months ahead of schedule. Some minor local grid works were finished off in August 2013, including a new cable crossing under the Crinan Canal.
Sròndoire Community Wind Farm is the sister project, adjacent to Allt Dearg. The Sròndoire planning application was approved by Argyll & Bute Council in October 2013, and the wind farm entered service as planned in November 2015. Sròndoire replicates the successful Allt Dearg local and community ownership model to include the neighbouring communities of Tarbert & Skipness to the south, and Kilfinan on the east side of Loch Fyne. Unlike Allt Dearg, the community investment at Sròndoire was funded via a REIF Government backed loan.
We were asked to make a presentation about our experience of developing Allt Dearg at the Scottish Land & Estates Spring Conference in 2014. Click for YouTube link.
The debate around wind farms is complex, heated beyond reason by corporate and political media spin, myth and emotion. In this frenzied atmosphere, where emotional opinion takes on scientific reason, the fundamental issues are often obscured. Most of us take electrical power and the benefits it brings to our quality of life for granted. In the western world, we belong to a generation that has always been able to light up our house with the flick of a switch. All forms of electrical power come at a cost; some of these costs are more visible and readily apparent than others. We believe that wind power should deliver local benefit and is an important part of our future energy mix. Engineers, like farmers, are not renowned for their eloquence. How does the sailor describe his feelings as the breeze fills the sail, and the boat surges forward? Exhilaration, boundless, at one with nature (clearly it feels pretty good, judging by the number of sails often visible on the waters around Allt Dearg). Come and stand beneath the wind turbines as they work, reflect that the energy they generate has been gathered from an infinite local source, with little risk or residue. Contemplate the wisdom of gathering whatever energy we can from sustainable sources, and consider how history might judge our efforts to conserve finite resources for the following generations.
How are we doing? Relative performance of wind power is a frequent area of debate and dispute. Like most wind farms, the Allt Dearg and Sròndoire output data is publicly available from various online sources. Allt Dearg and Sròndoire are usually ranked in first and second place, in terms of Annual Load Factor (the key measure of productivity) for large scale wind on the British mainland. Spurness II on Orkney vies with Allt Dearg for the overall first place in the whole UK ranking. Further information on outputs for all renewable energy is published by the Renewable Energy Foundation.
Grab a PDF Site Map here.