Isle of Skye
Sleat Community Trust (SCT) was formed in 2003 to support sustainable economic, environmental and social development in Sleat. In 2011, the Trust successfully raised the funds to purchase Tormore Forest, providing a vital environmental and economic boost to the area.
SCT began considering the potential for a renewable energy development in Tormore Forest and Allt a’ Cham-aird was identified as the most suitable burn for a micro hydro scheme. The Trust then initiated ‘Cumhachd Shlèite’ and set up the Sleat Hydro Community Benefit Society to manage the project. In December 2020, their share offer launched raising the £235,000 needed to build the micro hydro. 173 members in the community invested and were offered a 4% return on their investment from 2023. There was huge local support, with over £200,000 coming from the Skye and Lochalsh area, and £155,000 of that from Sleat residents.
Construction of the hydro began in April 2021 and it was connected to the National Grid by August 2021. It is expected to generate 148,000 kWh of clean, green energy each year and it has an accreditation with the Feed-in Tariff scheme which guarantees the Community Benefit Society payments for the generation and export of renewable electricity.
“I think that Cumhachd Shlèite has demonstrated the strength of community action and its ability to lead the way in community wealth building. There will be more developments in renewable energy like this in the coming years, so I hope that we have proved how our communities are able to retain all the benefits that such initiatives bring.” Kenny Nicolson, Project Officer
The project aims to reduce carbon emissions; generate funds for community benefit; and improve awareness of environmental issues and community ownership. All profits from the sale of electricity will be used for community benefit through donations to Sleat Community Trust, with the scheme projected to generate over £20,000 in its first full year. This will be used to fund sustainable local projects and the trust hopes to inspire other communities to follow this example.