United Kingdom

United Kingdom


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A significant obstacle to local acceptance of wind farms in the UK can be the lack of a tangible financial benefit to residents affected by them. Developers have argued that there is no mechanism available for offering rebates on electricity bills, nor any agreed basis for sharing out a proportion of the wind farm revenues between residents concerned, given that different habitations are affected by the wind farms in varying degrees.

As an alternative, it has become customary for developers to make payments to local community councils or trusts, as reported for several Scottish schemes (Windpower Monthly, January 1996). While I sympathise with this approach, there will inevitably be residents living closer to the wind farm than others who may not wish to use new facilities provided out of a trust fund, or may not be able to.

I would suggest another model of sharing revenues with residents, based on an objective measure of the visual impact at their home. An annual payment could be made to each householder living within, say, four kilometres of the wind farm. This payment could be proportional to the number of turbines visible from the property and inversely proportional to the square of the distance to the nearest turbine.

It is straightforward to investigate the implications of this model for the theoretical case of a wind farm occupying a circular site two kilometres in diameter, assuming a uniform density of habitations around the wind farm (to within 400 metres) of two per square kilometre. Assuming further that the average number of turbines visible from each house is five, and that the payment per turbine visible at one kilometre from the wind farm is set at £40 per annum, the total annual payment to all eligible householders would be £11,000. The annual payments to individual householders would range from £12.50 at four kilometres from the wind farm to £1250 at 400 metres. For a 10 MW wind farm, the total annual payment of £11,000 would constitute about 1% of the annual revenue of the wind farm (assuming NFFO-3 rates). This is a similar percentage to that quoted in your article for payments to community trusts. A combination of the two payment schemes could also be adopted.

From Tony Burton, Carno, Powys, Wales

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