Wind – Report reveals Scotland’s community wind farms benefit local communities
Janet Foggie, Managing Director of Community Energy Scotland, said: “This valuable study confirms what our industry has long known; that the benefits of community energy far outweigh those of private production. The report reaffirms the importance for communities to retain control and ownership of renewable energy, in order to maximize the benefits for the local population. I think the same principles will apply to other areas that community groups are now engaging in, such as energy storage, electric car clubs, and providing flexibility. a vital part of our journey towards an equal and just Net Zero. “
Community benefit payments have become well established in the field of commercial wind farm development in the UK and have grown over the past 30 years to a rate of £ 5,000 per MW installed per year (a rate which has been adopted by the Scottish Government in their advice on Community Benefits in the Onshore Renewable Energy Sector).
Unlike private wind farms, monetary contributions from community wind farms are based on the financial performance of the wind turbine instead of a fixed annual allowance. For the purposes of the report, Aquatera analyzed the numbers to get £ 1 per MW per year.
A case study in the report showed that the community-owned 0.9 MW wind turbine on Orkney Island from Westray returned to the community around £ 299,057 per MW per year and is expected to contribute 6.8 million of books to the community over its 25-year lifespan. .
Norman Mackenzie, Chairman of Point and Sandwick Trust, which owns the UK’s largest community wind farm, said: “We are very happy to have been able to contribute to this groundbreaking research into the enormous economic impact of energy. community. We are just one of a number of community wind farms in the West Isles which together represent over £ 30million of capital investment and bring in net income of £ 2million per year to good causes in the local economy.
“Community energy is way above its weight in financial and economic terms and if governments are serious about ‘taking it to the next level’ and spreading the benefits of the green economy to all regions of the country, then they must do. community energy a central pillar of their climate policy and not just a “good to have”.
Community benefit payments for private wind farms (separate from normal operational benefits like local job creation) can be a valuable source of income for communities located near renewable developments. Some private developers also offer the possibility for the local community to invest in the development and, in return, to receive a share of the profits generated.
The results of this report, however, highlight the obvious increase in long-term financial benefits that communities who own and operate their own wind farms have experienced.