November 20, 2012

£150 for wind farm community – as long as you live within 1.5 miles

First 'bribe' for wind farm communities | By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent | The Telegraph | 19 November 2012 |

Residents living close to a wind farm will be given up to £150 off their energy bill in the first deal of its kind – but only if they live within a mile and a half.

Good Energy are offering 400 homes within 1.5 miles (2km) of Delabole wind farm in Cornwall a £100 discount if they sign up to a deal with the green supplier.

If the development, made up of four 300ft high turbines, makes more money because the wind blows the discount could be up to £150.

The company hope to roll out the idea across the country as they build more wind farms and encourage other developers to also offer a “local electricity tariff” for communities affected by renewable energy infrastructure.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is currently looking at the idea as part of a range of financial incentives to encourage more communities to accept wind farms.

There are currently more than 3,000 onshore turbines in the UK, with a further 6,000 in planning.

But critics dismissed the idea as a ‘bribe’ that will not help people beyond 2km from the wind farm who feel their view has been ruined.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has warned the Government against promoting a system in which communities are “paid off” to secure planning permission.

Good Energy only offered the local tariff after the Delabole wind farm was built, but in future it could be part of discussions in planning.

The 9.2MW wind farm generates enough energy to supply around 7,500 homes every year. The discount and a community fund will represent about 10 per cent of the profit.

Julia Davenport, chief executive of the company, denied it was a “bribe”.

She argued it was natural for the local community to get “recognition” for doing their bit to combat climate change and hoped more develoments would offer a local tariff.

“Wind power has a huge role to play in meeting the UK’s future energy needs and we think that it’s only right that our local communities should be recognised for their contribution to tackling climate change and reducing the UK’s reliance on expensive imported fossil fuels.”

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