Communities set to benefit from owning their own wind farm
The time is now ripe for local communities to seize the opportunity to develop their own wind farms. That was the message given at a conference yesterday organised by the Scottish Parliament’s Renewable Energy Group. The conference, called ‘Community Led Renewable Energy Schemes’, was organised by the Scottish Parliament Renewable Energy Group (SPREG). Further details of SPREG can be found at www.spreg.co.uk
James Dunning, Managing Director of Geotrupes Energy, a company set up to support communities and businesses wishing to benefit from local smaller scale wind farms, addressed MSP’s, local authority representatives and others connected with the renewables energy sector. The company specialises in helping to raise the funding required and facilitating the development of wind farms, as well as purchasing the output generated.
‘Considerable support is coming from local authorities and increasingly the private sector too. Conditions are now right for community led wind farms to be developed with the communities keeping control and everyone in those communities benefiting regardless of their ability to invest’, Mr Dunning told the conference.
Studies also show that a majority of people within communities where wind farms have already been built are supportive of them. A MORI Scotland survey in 2003 which reviewed the impact of some of Scotland’s largest wind farms showed that only 7% of residents living within 20km of a wind farm were negative about the impact on the local area, compared to three times that who saw a positive effect.
However, Mr Dunning stressed the importance of close and effective working partnerships for everyone involved if the potential of community led wind farms is to be realised, with a number of different means available for going about such projects. Certain factors such as having the right geographic conditions and strong local demand also need to be there.
Geotrupes Energy has established relationships with a number of specialist companies to make it easier for communities and businesses to set up their own wind farms.