It has been described by anti-windfarm campaigners as a “deeply-flawed, exploitative development” with concerns raised about noise, shadow flicker and potential health impacts.
But the emphasis was on the positive spin surrounding the Little Raith windfarm as details of a sponsorship scheme to help Fife college students were announced by Brian Kennedy, chairman of Kennedy Renewables, at a ceremony to mark the official opening of his company’s development.
Kennedy Renewables constructed the windfarm, which is near Lochgelly and Cowdenbeath and became fully operational in November last year.
Fife Provost Jim Leishman officially opened the windfarm and presented a cheque for £40,125 to representatives of the Four Winds Development Trust, the body set up to control the community benefit funds that accrue from the output of the nine turbines on site.
Kennedy Renewables has pledged to contribute around £49,500 a year to local projects and over the lifetime of the scheme this will amount to £1.5 million with inflation.
Mr Kennedy said his company has been in talks with Carnegie College assistant principal Janet McCauslin to work out a sponsorship scheme that will see them provide IT equipment for students on the wind turbine technician course. In addition they will provide financial support to students.
Mr Kennedy said: “The renewables industry can provide a great future for the young people of Scotland…We need to ensure there’s a steady supply of well-skilled workers for the industry and this sponsorship scheme is a small contribution towards making that happen.”
Kennedy Renewables along with their associates GE Energy will also provide training opportunities for the wind turbine technician students at the Little Raith site, which will give them vital hands-on experience of working in a real environment.
Mr Leishman said: “I’m delighted to officially open Little Raith windfarm.”
The opening ceremony was attended by MSPs David Torrance and Helen Eadie, Fife councillors and representatives from the four community councils that border the site – Lochgelly, Cowdenbeath, Auchtertool and Lumphinnans.
Mrs Eadie said: “I am confident that Little Raith windfarm will make a significant contribution to the Fife economy and I’d like to wish the company all the best for a successful future.”
Mr Torrance said: “This is a welcome development as it contributes to the Scottish Government’s policy of achieving its ambitious sustainable energy target of producing all electricity from renewable sources by 2020.”
But last night an alliance of anti-windfarm groups and campaigners opposed to government policy on wind energy extended their “condolences” to residents.
Graham Lang, Scotland Against Spin chairman, said: “Little Raith has found few fans among locals or visitors.
“The developer made monkeys of the authorities in the consent process, extending the height of the turbines from the original 100m to an overbearing 125m, appealing conditions on noise and air pollution monitoring and getting away with a laughably low community benefit offer.
“Already people living nearby are complaining about noise, shadow flicker and health impacts as well as loss in residential amenity and property value.
“This (is a)…deeply-flawed, exploitative development and on this sad occasion SAS sends its condolences to all those affected.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding