a NEW group has been established in South-West Scotland with the aim of spreading evenly the financial rewards from windfarm developments.
The Community Energy Foundation is the brainchild of Michael McCreath and Roy Walter, who have been campaigning against a proposal to build a windfarm in Wigtown Bay.
Their goal is to ensure that revenues from large land-based windfarms, including sites covering Carrick and Dumfries and Galloway, are retained within the local economy.
In situations where commercial windfarms are to be built near towns and villages, CEF will represent communities in their dealings with the developers.
Mr McCreath said: “The current rates of compensation to community funds are scandalous, yet no one is challenging the developers for a better deal.
“Rather than accepting a few scraps from the table, communities need a step-change in attitude towards windfarm developments.”
CEF aims to encourage and help communities and charitable organisations take ownership of renewable projects so that they can use the income stream for public benefit.
Mr McCreath added: “To give an illustration of the potential importance to the local economy of community energy projects, one needs only look at the experience of the Udny Community Wind Turbine Company in Aberdeenshire.
“They have successfully obtained planning permission and loan finance for one 800kW turbine which would bring a community the size of Wigtown an annual income of over £200,000 pa, index-linked for the next 20 years.
“Clearly, projects of this nature can totally transform rural communities. I don’t expect the residents of Udny will be too affected by the recession.”
l News Focus: Pages 8&9