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Renewables potential at Sandy Loch waterworks?

The water treatment works at Sandy Loch. Photo: Shetland News/Neil Riddell.

LERWICK Community Council (LCC) has been asked if it would be interested in being involved in a renewable energy project to power the water treatment works at Sandy Loch.

Local Energy Scotland contacted the community council in February to raise the idea, which would essentially see Scottish Water purchase power generated through a wind or solar energy source adjacent to the site on the outskirts of the town.

The issue was raised at the latest meeting of the community council on Monday night and members agreed to seek further information on the idea.

Local Energy Scotland encourages local and community ownership of renewable energy through the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), which could help the LCC secure grant funding in this instance for a feasibility study and future work.

Scottish Water has been engaging with Local Energy Scotland to explore opportunities to power assets via community renewable schemes and the Sandy Loch works was identified as a potential development.

Data released by Scottish Water showed that over the last three years there has been an hourly demand from the site of between 140kW and 151kW, and maximum demand of 215kW.

Councillor Michael Stout said “everyone stands to gain a peerie bit” from the idea and he suggested to members that the concept of community councils being able to own property in the future would be “very interesting” to explore in this regard.

A motion is due to be presented at Wednesday’s full Shetland Islands Council meeting from Lerwick South member Jonathan Wills encouraging a report to be prepared into whether community councils could gain more powers.

It suggests there would be “considerable benefits” for the people of Shetland if community councils became corporate bodies which could own property, enter into contracts, employ staff and raise their own revenue, partly through a portion of council tax.

The motion adds that the SIC should consider working with the other island councils in the Our Islands Our Future initiative to potentially create a pilot scheme.

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021