A workshop featuring 2011 SURF Award ‘Partnership’ category winner

The SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration is an independently judged annual process that highlights and promotes successful and innovative regeneration initiatives across Scotland.

With support from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Scottish Government, SURF offered the opportunity to learn more about the winning projects from 2011 through a series of study visits and workshops. The particular goal of these events was to draw out transferable lessons from that can be used to benefit the development of regeneration efforts elsewhere.

This workshop, held in Glasgow on 10 April 2012, featured the Community Power Orkney project, and focused on the learning and practical opportunities this model can offer for community energy and regeneration initiatives in urban communities.

About Community Power Orkney

Community Power Orkney is the winner of the ‘Partnership’ category SURF Award for 2011. The project was borne out of a desire to tackle the common goal of sustainably regenerating several separate island communities across Orkney. Through overcoming the challenges of geography, and by strong partnership working, the initiative is transforming these economically challenged island communities by providing a sustainable future for generations to come.

The cooperative cross-island partnership has led to the creation of ambitious community development plans for the participating islands, which include Rousay, Shapinsay and Stronsay. At the centre of these plans is electricity generated from newly created wind turbines, much of which is sold to the National Grid and profits reinvested into the communities. This activity and investment is used to address a wide range of issues for the island communities, from fuel poverty and depopulation to under-employment and housing shortages.

Five community-owned wind turbines have been built so far, with a sixth due for completion in May 2012. They are estimated to generate £20m of revenue over the next 20 years. The SURF Awards judging panel said that the “exemplar project” was “a model of a model of partnership working and shared learning”. They noted that it was particularly successful in empowering Orkney’s fragile island communities and creating a sustainable economic base to develop a comprehensive and multi-pronged approach to regeneration.

Presentation Materials

The workshop format included opening presentations from Mark Hull of Community Power Orkney and Nicholas Gubbins of Community Energy Scotland. Mark provided a background to the project and the challenges faced by partners, and Nicholas highlighted what more can be done to encourage development of community energy projects in urban Scotland. Their presentation slides are available for download below.

Community Power and Partnership in Orkney by Mark Hull, Chair of Community Power Orkney (10mb, PDF format).

Community Energy and Urban Regeneration by Nicholas Gubbins, Chief Executive of Community Energy Scotland (2 mb, PDF format).