December 25, 2013

Wind farm developers pledge to cut energy costs for thousands of Ayrshire homes – but objectors cry foul

By Edwin Lawrence | Daily Record | 24 Dec 2013 |

Wind farm developers say they will discount electricity prices for up to 1200 homes in the Dalmellington, Patna and Straiton area.

The discount – of £118 per year – depends on 17 turbines at Keirs Hill getting planning approval, and becoming operational.

But the turbines will be the highest onshore in the UK – 149 metres to blade tip.

Graeme Kerr is project manager for developers RES, and says the discount scheme is ‘in response to feedback from communities’.

But it has angered the many objectors to the project, including Save Straiton for Scotland campaign chairman Bill Steven.

Mr Steven said: “No other industry would be allowed to try and influence individuals in this way prior to planning being granted.

“But it would appear RES recognise themselves they will be impacting a staggering 1200 families with the size and scale of their horrific proposal.”

Mr Steven added: “You really do have to ask what the Keirs Hill Wind Farm proposal is actually costing the average person.

“RES suggest they can pay out 6 million pounds in benefit packages to build 17 turbines.

“No wonder so many people are now asking why is electricity so expensive, when this level of compensation is being paid out – truly unbelievable.”

Mr Kerr has confirmed the discount scheme is being offered in addition to a community benefit fund for investment in local community projects.

And it brings the total community benefits package to at least £255,000 per year – equating to more than £6 million over the lifetime of the wind farm.

Properties eligible for the discount must be within four kilometres of the proposed turbines.

It would be paid directly into each eligible property’s electricity supplier for the full 25-year operational life of the wind farm.

And RES say there would be no need for people to change supplier or tariff to benefit.

Registration to the scheme is open to all residential, business and community buildings, including schools, places of worship and village halls. RES says it has written directly to the eligible properties.

The planning application was submitted in November to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents and Deployment Unit.

Bill Steven is urging more people to object before the January 24 deadline.

He said: “RES have cunningly hopped over the border to East Ayrshire. But these turbines will be seen for miles.”

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