Protestors say wind farm developers hoping to give £2million to the community have got their sums badly wrong.
Brothers Andrew and Mark Thompson have pledged to hand over the profits from one of the five turbines at Ponder Gill to community groups.
Should the wind farm get the go-ahead, the Thompsons estimate the turbine could be worth about £2million to the dale over the next 20 years.
But South Teesdale Action Group (Stag) say the real figure is likely to be half that amount – even if the turbine worked flat out all the time.
Keith Alexander, from Stag, said: “Following on from last week’s piece in the Mercury, we have been looking at the figures behind the headline –‘Wind farm brothers offer £2m to locals’ – and we can’t quite make it add up. There is no evidence on their website of how these figures were calculated or what capacity they are assuming.”
The Thompsons say the profits for the community are based on the Government’s incentives which pay people to generate green energy.
Stag has carried out a detailed study of the possible profits from a 250KW turbine at Ponder Gill.
Between 2009 and 2011 the turbines at GlaxoSmithKline in Barnard Castle produced on average 7.65 per cent capacity. The wind farms at the windy Tow Law achieved 25.75 per cent.
Stag say the best Ponder Gill could hope for is 25 per cent. If the turbine worked flat out, it would produce 2,190 MWh of electricity in a year. This would be worth an estimated £27,375 per year based on a wholesale price of electricity of £50/MWh.
A further ROC payment would add a further £24,637 per year. Over 20 years, this would total a maximum of £1.04million.
“This is still a considerable amount of money but is half what they are promising,” said Mr Alexander. Stag also says the money that they are giving away is not their money as such.
“It’s money that we as consumers have already paid to the government, which is now being redistributed via the subsidy the landowners will receive,” said Mr Alexander.
A spokeswoman on behalf of the Thompson brothers said: “Representatives from the Ponder Gill project are confident of the calculations provided in a recent press release, having undertaken numerous surveys and reports from all consultees as part of the development of the planning application.
“The calculations have been confirmed using the specifications and information provided directly from the turbine suppliers and associated parties.
“Once the county council are satisfied all of the application criteria has been met the application will open for public consultation and the details of the turbines performance can be noted.
“Both Andrew and Mark Thompson are confident of the turbines performance figures and hope to appeal directly to the Boldron and Bowes Parish Councils to discuss any concerns or application issues once the planning process has officially starte [sic]
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