RES seeks to be a power for good in the communities that neighbour its projects by working openly and constructively to ensure tangible local benefits.
Some of the most direct and meaningful benefits that can be delivered from a wind farm proposal like Hill of Fare are jobs and employment for local businesses and contractors, in addition to the use of local services and amenities, all of which can generate a significant amount of inward investment within the area.
We also believe that onshore wind should provide direct, lasting benefits to local communities. RES takes a tailored approach and works directly with the community to understand how the wind farm could support the local area and help to secure long-term economic, social and environmental benefits. This approach will help to deliver a tailored community benefits package, should the project receive consent, that is aligned with the local communities’ priorities.
We welcome the UK Government’s recent commitment to attracting record levels of investment in renewable energy in the King’s Speech. Projects like Hill of Fare are a key part of that investment pipeline and could deliver millions of pounds of benefit for local businesses and communities for decades to come. If consented, Hill of Fare Wind Farm is predicted to deliver a £150 million boost for the local economy:
- Predicted to deliver £14 million of inward investment in Aberdeenshire during construction
- Estimated to deliver £66 million of economic activity linked to operations and maintenance
- Could deliver a tailored community benefit package worth £26.4 million over its lifetime
- Would provide £50 million in business rates over operational lifetime to Aberdeenshire Council, supporting vital services
Tailored community benefit package
RES is proposing a tailored package of benefits for the community from the Hill of Fare Wind Farm that would be worth £5,000 per megawatt (or equivalent) of installed capacity per annum, or a total of £26.4 million over the operational lifetime of the project. This package could include RES’ unique Local Electricity Discount Scheme (LEDS), something that has received significant interest from the community. LEDS seeks to deliver direct and tangible benefits to people living and working closest to RES’ operational wind farms.
Should the project receive consent, the area of benefit for Hill of Fare Wind Farm will be determined in consultation with locally elected representatives from the closest communities.
Our unique Local Electricity Discount Scheme (LEDS) was developed in response to research and feedback from local communities around RES' operational wind farms, and seeks to deliver direct and tangible benefits to people living and working closest to them. LEDS offers an annual discount to the electricity bills of those properties closest to a participating wind farm and there is no need to change energy provider. The scheme would be open to all residential, business and community buildings with an electricity meter (including schools, places of worship and village halls) within the eligible area.
Since the last round of public exhibitions, RES has been exploring the potential for community shared ownership at Hill of Fare. This would provide an exciting opportunity for the local community to invest in the project and have a stake in a major asset within the area. An experienced consultant has been appointed to explore financial models for the shared ownership opportunity. If a viable model can be developed it will be explored with the local community in due course by the consultant who can also provide impartial financial advice.
Involving the local supply chain
RES is committed to ensuring that, wherever reasonably practicable, local contractors and employees are used in all aspects of wind farm development. The major opportunities arise during the construction phase when suitably qualified local firms are invited to bid for different aspects of construction, such as foundation laying and electrical works. Construction materials are normally sourced locally (i.e. within the county) and local transport and plant hire companies used wherever possible.
RES is keen to hear from local businesses who may be able to offer skills and services to Hill of Fare Wind Farm. Please contact us if you are a local business and would like to know more about opportunities for the local supply chain. RES is also a Platinum member of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce and a member of Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG).
Expenditure in the local economy during the development, construction and operation of wind farms varies from project to project due to various factors including project size, project duration, and the availability of local suppliers. In recent years, RES has seen typical spend with local stakeholders, suppliers and service providers in the region of £279,000 per wind turbine during the development, construction and first year of project operation. In some cases, it has been possible to significantly improve on this number with the inward investment being even more.
Hill of Fare is predicted to deliver approximately £14 million of inward investment into Aberdeenshire during construction, £66 million of economic activity linked to operations and maintenance work during the wind farm’s operational life, and around £50 million in business rates to Aberdeenshire Council during the operational lifetime of the project – helping to support vital services.
The case studies below help demonstrate RES’ commitment to working with the local supply chain and maximising inward investment opportunities wherever possible on its wind farm projects:
Meikle Carewe Wind Farm, Aberdeenshire
RES' Meikle Carewe Wind Farm near Netherley in Aberdeenshire was commissioned in July 2013. Consisting of 12 turbines, the 10.2MW project injected £1.1 million into the Aberdeenshire economy during the construction phase. Contracts were set up with local hotels and cleaning companies and all of the stone and concrete used during the construction process was sourced from local suppliers, with local drivers utilised to deliver materials to the site. The balance of the workforce at Meikle Carewe lived locally during the working week, creating significant revenue for local accommodation providers. For the 25 year lifetime of the project RES anticipates to spend locally in the region of £6.7 million, of which £3.3 million will be paid to the local council in business rates.
Freasdail Wind Farm, Argyll and Bute
RES' Freasdail Wind Farm on the Kintyre peninsular in Argyll and Bute was commissioned in March 2017. Consisting of 11 turbines, the 22.55MW project has injected £6.34 million into the Argyll and Bute economy through working closely with the local supply chain - with £4.21 million being spent with local contractors, £1.56 million on local materials, £0.36 million on local supplies and services and £0.21 million on local accommodation.
Glenchamber Wind Farm, Dumfries and Galloway
RES' Glenchamber Wind Farm near New Luce, Kirkcowan and Glenluce, was commissioned in October 2016. Consisting of 11 turbines, the 27.5MW project delivered a considerable £8 million of inward investment and employed 45 local people during construction leading to upskilling of the local workforce.