3 October 2013
In June 2013, wind energy developers and wind farm operators from across Wales signed up to a new Community Benefits declaration, supported by RenwableUK Cymru and the Welsh Government. The Declaration includes a promise to ensure that communities hosting wind farms are’ fully engaged and that they receive long term positive benefits’, and has been signed up to by a range of companies, including SSE, RWE, West Coast Energy and Vattenfall.
The Declaration outlines a number of forms that community benefits for those hosting wind farms could take. These include, but are not limited to:
- Direct financial support;
- Community ownership, profit share and shares ownership;
- Measures or initiatives to support the reduction of energy costs;
- The provision of new or improved local infrastructure;
- Sponsorship or organisations, sporting and cultural events;
- In-kind offers such as habitat management programmes; and
- Education or training opportunities.
The Declaration states that these are a way to bring tangible benefits to those communities hosting wind projects, over and above economic, energy security and environmental benefits that arise from those developments. Furthermore, the declaration outlines a commitment to create and participate on an on-going basis in an economic and community benefit register for Wales, working with the Welsh Government, communities and other stakeholders.
With Powys in mid-Wales currently in the midst of Britain’s biggest ever public enquiry into wind farms, can this new community benefits declaration make a difference to community perception and acceptance of wind farm developments and help them to feel more engaged in the process?
Article written by Chloe Corbyn