This is an open letter to all registered crofters in Shetland.
I am the custodian to two crofts in the West Mainland and have recently attempted to raise funds (£30,000) to install a small aero generator of 5.5 kilowatts.
Such a generator would not only supply most of my electricity for the next 20 years or so but would also enable me to sell power back to Hydro at considerable profit to myself and family.
The original £30,000 installation cost, would be covered within about five to seven years, depending on wind speed, generator breakdowns and acts of God.
My bank informs me it is willing to offer finance by way of a commercial loan for such an installation, conditional that I provide security for the loan. This would involve decrofting my house and offering the freehold as security.
The cost of doing this would be considerable and throw my children’s inheritance and my home at the mercy of the weather. I am unwilling to do this, but if Shetland Charitable Trust was to underwrite the proposed loan to the bank, at minimal risk to its funds and no capital outlay, my turbine could be installed forthwith.
There is, I believe here, an opportunity for every crofter in Shetland to benefit by such an installation. The ramifications to individual crofters and the economy to Shetland would be enormous at minimal risk of environmental damage.
The funds in the charitable trust would remain in their present investment portfolios. The charitable trust funds would only be threatened in extraordinary circumstances of the crofter going bankrupt.
I intend to contact the trust forthwith, to present this idea, and would urge all interested crofters in Shetland to do likewise. In my naïvety I can only see benefits here for all.