People living close to new wind farms will receive at least £100 off electricity bills under a scheme announced by a renewable energy company.
The scheme by RES for homes and businesses near its new wind farms will pay out the cash regardless of who their supplier is, and it will not require people to switch supplier or tariff in order to get the discount.
The first people to benefit from the “local electricity discount scheme” will be those close to Meikle Carewe wind farm in Aberdeenshire and Tallentire wind farm in Cumbria, both of which are set to be fully operational by the summer.
The area and number of properties which will qualify for the scheme will vary from site to site, depending on factors such as the number and capacity of wind turbines and the density of houses in the vicinity.
The fund will contribute £3,000 per megawatt (MW) of installed power to discounts on people’s bills. At Tallentire the six turbines form a 12MW wind farm, and in Meikle Carewe the 12 turbines total 10MW.
Communities will also receive annual contributions of £2,000 per megawatt to local initiatives and organisations. RES said that in the case of Meikle Carewe wind farm, the funding would be worth around £1.2 million over the 25-year operational lifetime of the wind farm.
Gordon MacDougall, RES UK & Ireland chief operating officer, said: “Often when we’ve talked to communities around our wind farms, people have asked if they can have cheaper electricity in return for hosting a project, so we’ve worked out a way to make that happen.
“We will offer those residential, community and business properties closest to a proposed RES wind farm a discount of at least £100 per year off their electricity bills, which will be paid directly to their electricity supplier. The discount will apply for the lifetime of the wind farm – around 25 years.”
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey welcomed RES’s move to bring in the “innovative” scheme.
Mr Davey said: “We know that two-thirds of people support the growth of onshore wind. But far too often, host communities have seen the wind farms but not the windfall.
“Providing local communities with a discount on their energy bills no matter their supplier is exactly the type of initiative we are keen to encourage as part of a closer relationship between energy generators and local communities.”
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