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Little Raith windfarm firm spinning benefits, claim opponents

Opponents from communities around Little Raith Windfarm have reacted with anger and disgust at the application to add another six turbines to the nine turbines already operational at the site.

The Courier told last week how Kennedy Renewables, which owns and operates the windfarm near Mossmorran, has submitted plans to add another six turbines to the nine which have operated there since 2012.

It says the windfarm produces enough electricity to power 14,500 homes each year and claimed the “warm welcome” from the community had encouraged it to expand the operation.

However, opponents say it is misleading for the company to suggest it has community support for the windfarm and have suggested the community benefit amounts to a “bribe”.

James Glen, who runs the community website Loch of Shining Waters, said a poll showed 83% (307 votes) against the Little Raith extension. He attacked the “unbridled greed of Kennedy Renewables and the landowner.

He said Little Raith was “a licence to rob consumers” and claimed that between April 2013 and May 2014 the windfarm’s income exceeded £6 million, with more than £3m in subsidy.

“From over £6m annually, Kennedy Renewables have been ‘generously’ giving £49,000 per annum back to us while we are forced to pay them over £3m in subsidy via our leccy bills,” he said.

“This is much less than the industry standard for community benefit, which at £5,000 per megawatt means the community should be getting £124,000 PA.”

Tom Bain, chairman of another campaign group, SPOT Fife said: “It is disappointing to see Kennedy Renewables boasting of their investment in Fife, when they themselves are making around £6.5m per year from Little Raith and making available only £49,000 per year to the community – just 40% of the government recommended benchmark for community benefit.

“What’s worse, only £26,000 of this community money has actually been spent so far in the 19 months the windfarm has been operational.”

Linda Holt of Scotland Against Spin said the offer of community benefit amount to a “bribe” aimed at discouraging objectors.