Aberdeenshire Community Energy Event Marks First Wind Farm Electricity Discounts

6 August 2014, RES Group

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British renewable energy developer RES last week hosted an energy efficiency event to celebrate the first payments of its Local Electricity Discount Scheme (LEDS) at Meikle Carewe Wind Farm in Aberdeenshire. As the first discount payment of its type in Scotland, qualifying local residents and businesses have received £122 discount off their electricity bills this year, with further discount payments due each year during the wind farm's operational lifetime.

To mark the first payment RES, who developed, constructed and now operate the site, hosted an event to assist local people reduce their bills even further. Local residents and businesses turned out on Thursday 24 July at the Cookney Hall, near Netherley, to get practical help and advice on how to lower their energy bills. Local value driven social enterprise Scarf was also was also on hand at the event to answer questions and offer free impartial advice on: energy efficiency; affordable warmth; all types of renewable energy; sustainable transport; as well as water efficiency.

The LEDS payment of £122 was paid directly to the electricity suppliers of local residents and businesses closest to the wind farm and is part of RES’ pioneering approach to community involvement around its projects. The discount scheme sees those living and working around Meikle Carewe Wind Farm sharing in the revenue of the project every year for its 25 year operational lifetime.

Rachel Anderson, from RES’ Meikle Carewe Wind Farm said;
"We were delighted to see so many local people coming along to our event and to hear positive feedback about our Local Electricity Discount Scheme. Although onshore wind, as the one of the cheapest forms of low carbon energy, is already helping to keep consumer bills lower in the face of costly fossil fuel imports, LEDS offers local communities an important opportunity to have a stake in our new wind farms whilst also helping to reduce their electricity bills still further."

Local Resident Richard Mann said;
"I’m really glad I went along to the event as I received some very useful information about a possible grant for our heat pump. I’ve been in further contact with Scarf since the event and they have been really helpful. I have to add the coffee and cake was good too!"

Billy Sloan, Chief Executive of Scarf, said;
"Scarf is always eager to support community initiatives to help people reduce both their fuel spend and impact on the environment. There are so many ways that householders can save money and energy and our free and impartial advice services can help people make the right decisions to do so. We were delighted to attend the event to provide this advice to local residents face-to-face."

RES also made Community Benefit Fund application forms and advice notes available at the event to local groups and organisations, and provided advice on how to apply for support from the annually available fund of £20,500. Local groups from the community council areas of Crathes, Drumoak and Durris; Newtonhill, Muchalls & Cammachmore; North Kincardine Rural; Portlethen and District; and Stonehaven and District are being encouraged to apply for funding before the 30 September deadline for the latest funding round.

LEDS offers local communities an important opportunity to have a stake in our new wind farms