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One of the UK’s largest farm-based wind power projects is about to be switched on, generating returns for more than 20 local shareholders who have invested in the scheme.

The £10.5m Greenside Wind Energy project is a joint venture between two long-standing farming families in the North East of Scotland but the upfront investment needed to secure bank finance for the multi-million pound project meant other local investors have also been brought on board.

A further 22 investors, all based locally and many involved in rural businesses themselves, together own 30 per cent of the project which is being funded by ethical bank Triodos.

Electricity generated by the four Enercon E70 2.3 MW turbines near Crimond in Aberdeenshire is being bought under a 15-year agreement with SmartestEnergy, the leading independent power purchaser and supplier.

Iain Robertson, SmartestEnergy’s Glasgow-based Head of Generation Sales, said the Greenside project highlighted the economic benefits of renewable energy projects to local communities.

“As well as the many local firms involved in the construction, over its lifetime this project will generate millions of pounds of income which will remain in the area,” he said.

The 9.2 megawatt (MW) wind farm has been developed as a farm diversification scheme by Elaine Booth and husband Peter of Ednie Farms and Jim and Irene Fowlie, of Adziel, Strichen.

“We’re delighted so many local people are involved with this project and the experience many of them have been able to bring from their own businesses has proved very helpful in developing a scheme of this scale,” said Elaine, a former Renewable and Bioenergy Specialist at the Scottish Agricultural College.

“The philosophy behind the project from the outset has been to try and ensure maximum benefits for the economy in the area and we believe local ownership is key to that.”