FEBRUARY 2016: WIND FARM CREATES LOCAL JOBS
The thirteen turbines of Wryde Croft Wind Farm to east of Thorney are a visible reminder that renewable electricity is a vital part of our energy mix. What is less visible about this new addition to the landscape is the positive effect the wind farm’s construction is having on the region in terms of economic benefits and local job creation.
RES is keen to work with local businesses wherever possible and sees its renewable energy projects as a catalyst for growth. Tracy Scott, RES Project Manager, comments: “As a British company it’s really important to us to involve local people and companies as much as possible. An important part of the project is that Wryde Croft is delivering a longer term legacy to the local economy, over and above its primary aim of providing renewable electricity at a reasonable cost.”
Based on spend at previous projects, RES estimates that a typical 13 turbine wind farm is likely to inject around £3.5 million into the local economy from development up to the first year of operation. Wryde Croft Wind Farm has far exceeded these economic projections.
Family-owned R G Carter, of Padholme Road East, was awarded the main construction contract, which alone was valued at £5 million. Their supply chain led to other contract awards, locally and across the East of England. Examples include Mervyn Lambert Plant (Norfolk), Lancaster Earthmoving (Suffolk) and Norfolk IT company, In Touch Systems, whose innovative wireless technology keeps the construction offices connected.
During the main construction phase, 15 local people have been employed on the wind farm: that is roughly half the average workforce. But Wryde Croft is also creating longer term employment opportunities. Robert Read from Whittlesey decided to establish his own plant hire company about eighteen months before construction of the wind farm began. By the time he won the contract to provide plant machinery and undertake earthworks, trenching and cabling on the site, his company already employed three local people.
Robert says: “Setting up my own business was a real leap of faith. Securing the contract at Wryde Croft Wind Farm was a significant point in our development. The revenue has made my company more financially secure and I’m looking to bring another employee on board in the near future. Being able to offer employment to others is a great feeling.”
Wryde Croft Wind Farm is currently on schedule for completion by the end of Feburary 2016. Once operational, it will be capable of generating sufficient renewable electricity to power more than 13,000 average UK homes. The wind farm will also offer community benefits throughout its lifetime. These take the form of a £52,000 per year Community Fund to support local community projects and RES' Local Electricity Discount Scheme, which offers properties within 3km of the turbines a £200 annual discount on their electricity bills.
- The homes equivalent has been calculated by taking the predicted annual electricity generation of the site (based on independent studies Wryde Croft Wind Farm has an energy yield of 63.8GWh) and dividing this by the annual average electricity consumption figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change 2013 (4128kWh).