Developers behind a windfarm plan near Huntly have claimed the project could generate more than £1million for the local community.
Dunfermline-based company Burcote Wind is in the early stages of an extensive public consultation process for the planned six turbines at Meikleton of Ardonald between the A96 and A920 roads.
Councillors and community council members are being asked to weigh the benefits of a proposed fund that would channel up to £45,000 a year for 25 years into improvement projects in the local area.
A similar plan from Welsh renewable energy firm West Coast Energy to build nine turbines at nearby Cairnborrow received a positive response from locals at a public consultation in January.
Burcote Wind chairman Graham Brown said yesterday that the local community would have “complete ownership” of the fund and be able to decide for themselves how the money was spent.
“We want our project at Meikleton to be a windfarm the whole community can be proud of.
“We think our proposal has a number of distinct advantages. Meikleton is distant from the major towns of Huntly and Keith and its visual effect in the landscape will be minimised by its location in a natural bowl surrounded by hills.”
Representatives from the energy company made an initial presentation to Strathbogie and Huntly community councils on Monday night, at a meeting that was also attended by local councillors.
Huntly councillor Moira Ingleby emphasised last night that the project is still at a very early stage.
“As these windfarm applications come before us, we consider each one on its individual merits,” she said.
“Some have been granted permission and others have been reduced or rejected. There will be extensive consultation on this plan and it will be considered in the same way.”
A spokesman for Burcote Wind said the planned development would generate enough energy for power to 11,000 homes a year and cut carbon emissions by 22,600 tonnes.
The proposed community benefit fund is equivalent to an annual payment of £3,000 per megawatt of energy generated.
This would produce payment to the community of £1.125million over 25 years.
Although a planning application is not expected until next year, Burcote Wind will need to demonstrate that the site will not suffer any lasting ecological damage.
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