A wind energy firm has pledged to give householders near a newly-approved Highland windfarm hundreds of pounds towards their annual electricity bills.
Oxford-based developers RidgeWind will offer around £200 towards the electricity bills of an estimated 200 households living within a five-mile radius of the Beinneun windfarm.
But last night residents living nearby said the cash would be cancelled out by the impact the turbines would have on business.
The Scottish Government granted planning consent yesterday for the 25-turbine scheme at Invergarry.
It is estimated it will bring £30million into the Highland economy and create 90 jobs during the two- year construction phase, which could next year.
The Beinneun development, five miles west of Invergarry, on Corbett Meall Dubh, is expected to meet the energy needs of 40,000 homes. The new development will be near the site of the existing Millennium windfarm, which has 20 turbines.
RidgeWind project manager Neal Reid said the firm was pleased consent had been granted relatively quickly following the application a year ago and credited the speedy process to reductions made following consultation with the community and local groups.
He said: “We plan to subsidise people living closest to the site by giving a contribution to their electric bills every year.” Residents would receive the money annually – for 25 years.
However, the bill reduction got a mixed reception yesterday as some householders feared the benefit would be outweighed by the effect on businesses.
Colin Grant, of Faichemard Farm Campsite, is within the five-mile radius – but fears campers will be discouraged from visiting because of the turbines. He said: “I’m not that enthusiastic about the £200-a-year offer given that it might be outweighed by the effect on our business.”
Meanwhile, Susan Knotts, of Glenmoriston, welcomed the subsidy– but said the area was choked by energy schemes.
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