The community in the Loughgiel area is set to see more than £2 million of local investment following the granting of planning approval for a new RES wind farm.
RES, a leading independent UK renewable energy developer, welcomed the Northern Ireland Planning Service decision to consent the 9-turbine Altaveedan Wind Farm towards the end of last year and is now looking forward to beginning pre-construction surveys and habitat improvement in the coming weeks.
Fiona Stevens, Senior Project Manager, said: “The project will bring significant community benefits by establishing both a Community Benefit Fund for the local area as well as lower electricity bills for the nearest neighbours through our innovative Local Electricity Discount Scheme (LEDS).
“The level of community investment equates to £5,000 per installed megawatt per year over the lifetime of the wind farm – typically 25 years. This would mean a total local investment of at least £2.25 million over the wind farm’s lifetime.”
Fiona added: “Renewable energy projects like Altaveedan will contribute to the ambitious targets set by Government in order to deliver secure and cost effective electricity whilst at the same time reducing carbon emissions to help combat climate change.”
The next stage of the project will focus on pre-construction investigations on site and habitat management improvements. RES is aiming to begin full onsite construction works at Altaveedan in 2015. Construction of the wind farm is scheduled to be completed by mid-2017.
RES has previously written directly to the properties around the wind farm site that are eligible to receive the electricity discount under LEDS (all properties on mains electricity within 2.7km of the turbines), offering people the opportunity to register their interest in the scheme.
There is no need for participants to change electricity supplier to benefit from LEDS and participation in the scheme is entirely voluntary. The discount available is paid directly to the relevant electricity supplier for the duration of the operational life of the wind farm.
RES is also looking forward to continuing its local community engagement over the coming months as it sets up the Altaveedan Community Benefit Fund and moves towards the construction phase of the project.
Regular project updates will be provided on the wind farm’s website www.altaveedanwindfarm.co.uk.
* RES also developed the nearby Gruig Wind Farm now owned by Glennmont Partners but still operated and managed by RES. The Community Benefit Fund at Gruig Wind Farm provides annual funding to St Anne’s Support Group – Corkey, Cloughmills Community Action Team and The Millennium Centre, Loughgiel.