Funding project has power to propel community organisations

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

A group of enterprising young people have launched the funding arm of a project which will see local organisations benefit from the revenue generated by a community energy park.

Fifth and sixth year pupils from Sanquhar Academy unveiled the Glenmuckloch Community Energy Park Funding Project to people living in surrounding communities at a launch event at the school – and are actively encouraging local groups to make applications for funding.

The first of its kind in Scotland,the scheme provides financial assistance for public benefit to groups and organisations across Upper Nithsdale using the revenue produced by two wind turbines on a site adjacent to the Glenmuckloch opencast mine, near Kirkconnel.

Glenmuckloch Community Energy Park - officially launched by Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing in July 2014 - complements the restoration work being carried out on the Glenmuckloch surface mine site.

The young people – who have adopted the name Propel for their group – have been receiving advice from representatives from Scottish Mines Restoration Trust (SMRT), Buccleuch, Hargreaves Surface Mining Ltd and Dumfries and Galloway Council on the project.

Representatives from community organisations with ideas for projects which will actively benefit the people of Upper Nithsdale are now being invited to apply for funding.

Alan Hiddleston of Hargreaves Surface Mining Ltd, chair of Glenmuckloch Energy Park, said: “Being able to support and be part of such an innovative and exciting project was a huge opportunity for us, as we know it will bring considerable local benefit for a generation and leave a lasting legacy from the mining industry.

“Hargreaves is delighted to give pupils of my former school these unique learning opportunities as there is no other project like this anywhere in the United Kingdom. I know the young people will work hard to provide the best for their communities.”

Professor Russel Griggs, chair of SMRT, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the young people from Sanquhar Academy and they have shown great dynamism and enthusiasm in organising this event.

“Community organisations will welcome the opportunity to receive funding as part of a wider project that is helping to bring an area of disused land back into community use. The community trust, along with the restoration itself, will provide the surrounding area with long-term, sustainable benefits.

“Providing funding to local organisations will have a tangible and demonstrable impact on the community, and shows that we are continuing to take a pragmatic approach to the restoration of the Glenmuckloch site.”

Sanquhar Academy pupil Shan Haddow said: “When the opportunity to become a member of the Glenmuckloch project came up I was eager to be a part of it. As a senior pupil at Sanquhar Academy my future career and success is extremely important and I wanted to get involved in a project that’s going to have a significant impact on the local community.

“As a member of Propel, tasks including taking part in group meetings, creating applications and liaising with members of the board have helped me grow in confidence.

“When I leave school I will tell future members of the group how valuable this experience has been and will continue to be for those who are taking part.”

Dumfries and Galloway Council approved plans for up to two wind turbines in a development adjacent to the surface mine in June 2014.

Renewable energy developer 2020 Renewables donated its services and expertise to the community project free of charge. This included carrying out a feasibility study on the site earmarked for the turbines, which covers approximately four hectares. The firm has also provided extensive planning and technical support on turbine procurement and contracting.

The energy park project is being delivered by four key partners – SMRT, Buccleuch Estates, Hargreaves and Dumfries and Galloway Council. Dumfries and Galloway Council and Buccleuch each contributed £50,000, SMRT £75,000, and Hargreaves £150,000.

Hargreaves Surface Mining Ltd will complete civils work, including a new road infrastructure to both turbine bases and preparing areas for turbine and cable installation. Lammie Construction will start work in early April to complete the turbine foundation works.

The 30m high turbines will be supplied by Northern Power Systems and erected by early June.  Following turbine commissioning, it is expected that electricity and revenue will begin to be generated by the summer.  It is expected that the first money from the turbines will be made available from late summer 2015.

The turbines have the potential to generate £2.5 million over the next 25 years. The revenues will remain with Glenmuckloch Energy Park until distributed to good causes by Propel. 

Tom Snow, headteacher at Sanquhar Academy said: “Being part of this project has been a fantastic learning experience for our senior students. We have seen them develop a new set of skills and attributes while developing their self-confidence and efficacy.

“This growth will help them play positive roles in their communities both now and in the future. The members of Propel can rightly be very proud of their achievements so far.”

John Glen, chief executive of Buccleuch, said: “We are now seeing the tangible benefits of a genuine collaborative effort. We are pleased to be giving the land involved rent free for 25 years and remain wholly committed to playing our part in delivering social, economic and environmental benefit to the local area as well as contributing to renewable energy provision in Scotland.”

To find out more about the funding scheme email or visit