Reduced electricity bills if you live near a windfarm ?
Communities that host onshore wind farms could benefit from reduced electricity bills and investment in local infrastructure, Energy Secretary Edward Davey said today.
The comments came alongside the launch of a call for evidence aimed at ensuring that communities secure financial, social and environmental benefit from hosting onshore wind farms.
The community benefits consultation will seek new information on:
- Barriers to community engagement and how to address these;
- How wind farms could deliver wider environmental and social benefits to communities e.g. by providing grants for playgrounds;
- Best practice in local consultation by developers;
- Ways to maximise participation by local businesses in the economic supply chain for wind projects; and
- Innovative ways to reward host communities, such as offsetting electricity bills.
The Government will also seek the latest information on the cost of onshore wind to confirm whether subsidies from April 2014 have been set at the correct level.
Energy Secretary Edward Davey said:
“Onshore wind has an important role to play in a diverse energy mix that is secure, low carbon and affordable. We know that two-thirds of people support the growth of onshore wind. But far too often, host communities have seen the wind farms but not the windfall.
“We are sensitive to the controversy around onshore wind and we want to ensure that people benefit from having wind farms sited near to them.
“This new call for evidence will look at ways to reward host communities and ensure that wider investment, employment and social benefits are felt locally.
“We must also ensure that our policies are based on the best available evidence, so that consumers are not over-subsidising any one technology. That’s why we are seeking new evidence on the cost of onshore wind.”
Energy Minister John Hayes said:
“This call for evidence is a recognition that both parties in the Coalition are alive to the need for fresh thinking about community engagement on onshore wind.
“Appropriately sited onshore wind has a role to play, but if we’re to make this work in a way that garners popular support, we’ve got to see a big improvement in how developers engage with local communities, new ways of ensuring a sense of local ownership and more obvious local economic benefits.
“The Government is open minded about how we go about this, and that’s what this call for evidence is about. It’s an opportunity for anyone with a view about onshore wind – proponents and opponents alike – to come forward with workable ideas and solutions.”