Kintyre communities to benefit from windfarm windfall

Beinn an Tuirc 3 Windfarm. Photograph: R Elder.
Beinn an Tuirc 3 Windfarm. Photograph: R Elder.

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Kintyre will receive £3.4 million more than originally proposed in community benefit funds from the recently commissioned Beinn an Tuirc 3 (BaT3) Windfarm.

Following months of negotiations by East Kintyre Renewable Energy Group (EKREG) – a volunteer group working on behalf of Kintyre communities – an agreement has been reached with Scottish Power Renewables that ensures an annual community benefit of £225,000 will be paid for the lifetime of the windfarm, rather than the 10 years initially tabled.

This means Kintyre communities will receive £5.6 million over the next 25 years, instead of £2.2 million over the next 10 years.

These funds will be equally distributed to the impacted communities of Campbeltown, East Kintyre and West Kintyre, to enable communities to plan long-term and develop large-scale projects that benefit residents.

A community benefit society – Lussa Community Wind Limited (LCWL) – with representation from all three communities on its board, will manage all funds flowing from BaT3 to the anchor community charities: Campbeltown Community Windfarm Fund, East Kintyre Community Fund and West Kintyre Community Fund.

The charities are all Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations (SCIOs) and will follow strict guidelines when allocating funds for projects to further community development, education and regeneration.

The community councils associated with this development have all recently been developing their community action plans to help the anchor charities deliver legacy projects and priorities identified by the communities.

EKREG has been working for two years with Local Energy Scotland (LES), with support from professional financial and legal advisors funded by an LES Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) grant.

Alasdair Bennett, EKREG chairperson, said: ‘We are very grateful for the support from LES and pleased to have secured this important funding for our communities.’

Speaking on behalf of the communities, Valerie Nimmo, convener of Campbeltown Community Council, added: ‘We are very grateful to EKREG for all the work they have done in securing a lifetime community benefit agreement with SPR in relation to the Beinn an Tuirc 3 Windfarm.

‘The funds are much appreciated and will greatly help us deliver many community projects over the next 25 years.’

Since its establishment in 2019, EKREG has been in contact with 10 companies regarding 18 windfarm developments in Kintyre and South Knapdale, with a view to exploring opportunities for shared ownership.

‘With the current energy crisis and tight net-zero targets, the growth of windfarms in Kintyre is likely to accelerate,’ said a group spokesperson.

‘While each new windfarm will create employment during the construction phase, there will also be an increased visual impact on our landscape.

‘For every consented windfarm, EKREG will explore opportunities to maximise the financial benefits for impacted Kintyre communities via community-shared ownership and community benefit payments.’

The application process for applying for the community benefit funds will be announced via the Campbeltown Courier and the Kintyre Wind website at www.kintyrewind.com

Kintyre Wind is a collaborative project between EKREG and the Kintyre community councils, aimed at maximising the financial return to the Kintyre communities from consented local windfarm developments.

More information about the activities of EKREG; Lussa Community Wind Limited; Campbeltown Community Windfarm Fund; East Kintyre Community Fund and West Kintyre Community Fund can also be found on the website.