Tax Payers & Consumers pay for Industrial Wind FarmsAs part of the Little Raith Industrial Wind Farm a new community group has been formed; 4 Winds Development Trust. This has been formed to distribute up to £45.000 per year between the four communities of Auchtertool, Cowdenbeath, Lumphinnans, and Lochgelly.

This money is paid by everyone in the UK as Industrial Turbines have a large cost attached which is passed onto the consumer through increased household bills and the indirect subsidies generated from the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs). This is also one of the causes for an increase in those that are living in Fuel Poverty in Scotland and the UK.

It is also important to note that tax payers also pay the Wind Energy Industry money when they are producing no energy.

Wind farm paid £1.2 million to produce no electricity 1

A wind farm has been paid £1.2 million not to produce electricity for eight-and-a-half hours. The amount is ten times greater than the wind farm’s owners would have received had they actually generated any electricity. In total, 11 wind farms were closed down last week, receiving a total of £2.6 million. The money – detailed in calculations provided by National Grid – will be added on to household bills and paid for by consumers.

Scots windfarms paid cash to stop producing energy 2

Six Scottish windfarms were paid up to £300,000 to stop producing energy, it has emerged……energy companies were paid £900,000 to halt the turbines for several hours between 5 and 6 April.

Foreign firms reap £500m a year in subsidies from UK wind farms 3

Two thirds of wind turbines in the UK are owned by foreign companies, raking in half a billion pounds in subsidies added to household bills……the switch to green energy adds an average of £200 a year to household energy bills, which are due to rise even further this winter……..

Calculated Community Losses

If we look at the population statistics (2008 & 2009) for all four communities, provided by the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), we can calculate the total amount of money the communities are going to lose.

Firstly the population count is:

  • Lochgelly (2009): 7331
  • Lumphinnans (2009): 605
  • Cowdenbeath (2009): 7228
  • Auchtertool (2008): 115
  • Total: 15,279

Secondly, since everyone will not be responsible for paying household bills (ie – children) we will make the generalised assumption that the entire population is broken down equally into 2 adults and 2 children per household to roughly calculate how many households will have increased bills.

  • Lochgelly (Households): 1832.75
  • Lumphinnans (Households): 151.25
  • Cowdenbeath (Households): 1807
  • Auchtertool (Households): 28.75
  • Total: 3819.75

Thirdly, the calculated costs for households is an additional £200 per year 4, so we can calculate roughly how much money the communities will be losing.

  • Lochgelly (Additional Costs): £366,550.00
  • Lumphinnans (Additional Costs): £30,250.00
  • Cowdenbeath (Additional Costs): £361,400.00
  • Auchtertool (Additional Costs): £5,750.00
  • Total (Additional Costs): £763,950.00

Our calculations show that our communities will have a total loss of £763,950.00 for the year, through increased household bills, and this number will steadily increase as more Industrial Wind Farms are being built with the costs passed onto the consumer. The Community Benefit fund is basically our money, albeit a very small percentage of our money being paid back.

Lochgelly will suffer the highest financial losses, followed by Cowdenbeath, Lumphinnans, then Auchtertool. It must be noted that this won’t be solely due to Little Raith Industrial Wind Farm, but the Wind Energy Industry as a whole. However, Little Raith Industrial Wind Farm does contribute to these additional costs, that we will all be paying.

What some might consider advantageous of the Community Benefit, is that it will at least be a yearly lump sum of money which can be easier to invest in local projects more effectively. Which leads us to our other question.

How Will the Money Be Split?

Years ago at the Lochgelly Community Council when the developers first approached the community councillors, roughly around 2002, there was talk of a community fund. The Lochgelly Community Council did hold several conversations during several meetings and the nature of the discussions were that each area should be given a lump sum.

The money should be split based on a percentage depending on what area would be affected the most versus population size etc. It is to be expected that the Lochgelly Community Council believed that Lochgelly should have the largest share as it will have the most detriment effects to the area.

We can assume all three other Community Councils held the same discussions and probably came to the same conclusions, that they should have the biggest lump sum.

However, any discussions at the time were mere conjecture, as there was nothing definite as yet, and the plans weren’t even submitted to Fife Council, this was only possibilities.

Fast forward to the present and the development has been approved and so eventually a Community Fund will be made available.

So how is it to be split? We really do not know, but through the grapevine we have heard it will be through some kind of points system, which may have a negative effect, at some point, for all four communities.

Firstly, splitting the fund to give each community a lump sum would likely end up with all four communities fighting amongst each other to get their hands on the largest share, and Lumphinnans and Auchtertool would probably be the biggest losers due to their low populations.

A point system is probably fairer in a sense depending on the criteria. What we really need to know, is if the fund will be open only to non-profit groups (do they have to be constituted, registered as a charity etc.), or is it accessible to non-profits, individuals, businesses, Fife Council, etc.

Also we would have to consider the criteria (ie will funds only be made for environmental projects, youth crime, social inclusion, etc.) basically any specific project that tackles a social cause.

It is guaranteed there will be an application process to make sure that all the Community Benefit money is accountable and transparent.

What is of concern though, that sometimes this money may not be available to all four communities on a year by year basis, depending on how the payments are to be scored and made.

For example, let’s say Cowdenbeath has 10 projects put forward by various groups, all seeking funds at £10,000 each, Lochgelly only puts forward 3 project, Lumphinnans 2 projects, and Auchtertool 1 project.

Depending on the criteria, Cowdenbeath may get the majority of their projects funded leaving either a small amount or no funds for the rest of the communities. Likewise this can be reversed in favour of any of the communities. Some years Lochgelly may receive more funds than the other areas, and some years Lochgelly may receive no funds at all.

This will happen with all four communities and it will result in a funding roulette between the four communities with each year a new set of winners and losers.

The information session held yesterday would have been an ideal opportunity to find out in detail how the payment system works. Unfortunately this opportunity was missed as our representative at the meeting concentrated the questions on the known negative effects of Industrial Turbines and the likely community impact. The representative felt that the health and pollution concerns were more important rather than the Community Benefit which we perceive as a community bribe for exploiting our community assets and resources.

There needs to be a detailed and in-depth public statement providing information on how the community fund is to be distributed to allow everyone in all four communities a chance to view the pros and cons of the Community Benefit.

We will be seeking for the developers and the 4 Winds Development Trust to hold public meetings in all four communities to allow individuals to raise their concerns or support for the project in a more accessible location within their local community.

There needs to be a public debate in all four communities to discuss the pros and cons of Industrial Wind Farms and the impact they will have on all four communities (with some communities more affected than others). As far as we are aware there has been no public debate in either of the four communities, and very little consultation with the affected areas.

Do you support the Little Raith Wind Farm project?

  • No (89%, 433 Votes)
  • Yes (8%, 41 Votes)
  • Unsure (1%, 6 Votes)
  • No Opinion (1%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 484

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2 Comments

  1. Heart-Land

    September 23, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Local Information regarding industrial windfarms and the voices against them.

    Dunfermline Press. 23 Sep. 11
    Giant wind farm ‘by stealth’

    http://www.dunfermlinepress.com/news/roundup/articles/2011/09/23/417654-giant-wind-farm-by-stealth/

    The Courier. 4 May 2011
    Group fears landowners are pushing turbine envelope north of Dunfermline

    http://www.thecourier.co.uk/News/Fife/article/13602/group-fears-landowners-are-pushing-turbine-envelope-north-of-dunfermline.html

    Reply

  2. Dean

    September 29, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    if the money was split equally for everybody local you would only be getting £3.23 each per year.

    Not really worth risking my health for or the thousands of pounds I’ll be losing on my house.

    Shame on Fife Council and the politicians for letting this happen.

    Reply

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