BENEFITS WORTH £ MILLIONS ARE ON THEIR WAY AS WRYDE CROFT WIND FARM BECOMES OPERATIONAL
- Wind farm will deliver around £15 million in community and economic benefits over its lifetime -
Successful completion of the 13-turbine Wryde Croft Wind Farm between Thorney and Parson Drove is set to trigger community and economic benefits totalling £10 million over the project’s operational lifetime. The wind farm has already injected more than £5 million into the economy through the construction phase by using local contractors and facilities like accommodation.
This significant investment in the region east of Peterborough comes in addition to the wind farm’s primary purpose of generating cleaner, greener energy. With a capacity of 26 megawatts, Wryde Croft is capable of generating sufficient renewable electricity each year to power more than 13,000 average UK homes.
British renewable energy company RES began construction of Wryde Croft Wind Farm in September 2014, and the 100 metre-high turbines were delivered in June 2015. The wind farm has now successfully completed several weeks of rigorous testing and commissioning and was declared fully operational on Friday 12th February 2016. As a result, local communities will soon begin to receive the longterm benefits that the wind farm offers.
Tracy Scott, Project Manager, RES said: “We are delighted that Wryde Croft Wind Farm is now fully operational and generating renewable electricity that will help to reduce carbon emissions and keep the UK’s electricity supply affordable. RES is committed to ensuring that local communities who host our projects receive direct and tangible benefits and the completion of Wryde Croft will trigger provision of millions of pounds of inward investment over the wind farm’s lifetime”.
The community benefits offered by Wryde Croft Wind Farm are in the region of £3.25 million over its 25 year lifetime. This investment is directly targeted at benefitting people living and working within 6km of the wind turbines; an area which includes the villages of Thorney, Gedney Hill, Parson Drove and Thorney Toll.
The community benefits are delivered in two ways: as a Community Fund to support local projects and via RES’ innovative Local Electricity Discount Scheme (LEDS).
The Wryde Croft Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund provides £52,000 per year, index linked, for investment in local social, environmental and educational projects that will benefit people living and working near the wind farm. It is administered by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, but decisions about where the money is allocated will be made by a Fund Panel of local people. The Fund Panel met for the first time in March to review applications and award grants. A second funding round is planned for September.
RES’ Local Electricity Discount Scheme offers residential, commercial and community properties within 3km of the turbines £200 per year off their electricity bills. The first payments under LEDS at Wryde Croft will be made in March/April. The annual discount is paid direct to the electricity suppliers of those properties who have registered to receive it. Around 70% of eligible properties have already signed up to receive the discount in its first year.
In addition to the community benefits, the wind farm will pay business rates amounting to an estimated £260,000 per year, which will be fully retained by the local authority and reinvested in local services. In total, RES therefore calculates that the construction and operation of Wryde Croft Wind Farm will deliver benefits to the region totalling around £15 million over its 25 year lifetime.
- The total economic and community benefits figure of £10 million includes the projected business rates (£260,000 x 25 years) and total community benefits (£130,000 x 25 years). In addition, Wryde Croft has already contributed in excess of £5 million through locally awarded contracts and use of other local services during its construction.
- 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).