It is estimated that Infinergy’s plans to develop six wind farms in Scotland could see investment of £468m and leave a long term legacy in nearby communities through community benefit packages.
The firm, which recently won an industry award for Wind Energy Provider of the Year in recognition of its community engagement work, is developing sites across Scotland.
In December last year it gained consent for its 59 turbine Dorenell project in Moray, which when completed will be the UK’s fifth largest onshore wind farm. Infinergy has already achieved consent for the 17 turbine Lochluichart project in the North West Highlands, which it hopes to extend with a further six turbines.
It is also awaiting the outcome of an appeal to the Scottish government over its 17 turbine Tom nan Clach project near Carrbridge, Highland, and recently started community engagement around the 26 turbine Limekiln project in Caithness which will go to planning in the autumn.
Other projects are in the planning system in South Lanarkshire and South Ayrshire.
If all the planned projects became operational, they would generate around 330MW of clean electricity – enough to power 185,000 homes and displace around 372,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This would assist in meeting Scotland’s ambitious targets to produce the equivalent of 100% of electricity needs from renewables by 2020 and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 42%.
Infinergy is offering industry leading community benefit packages worth around £5,000 per MW of installed capacity. The firm hopes to encourage novel uses for the funds such as modern apprenticeships, skills training and enterprise initiatives in response to local priorities. The total value of community benefit across all sites is around £1.5m per year, or £40m over the wind farms’ lifetimes.
Infinergy has also established its own green electricity discount scheme known as LEO (Local Energy Organisation), which enables those living nearest to a wind farm to get money off their energy bills.
Infinergy’s commitment to the energy discount scheme was recognised last November at the Renewable Energy Infrastructure Awards, where the firm won Wind Energy Provider of the Year and Renewable Energy Provider of the Year.
Fiona Milligan, Infinergy’s Inverness-based Scottish project manager, commented, “Scotland is a key area of investment for Infinergy due to its unrivalled wind resource and strong political commitment to renewable energy.
“Infinergy wants to play its part in the renewables revolution in Scotland in a way that not only helps achieve targets, but also provides significant benefits for local communities.
“We want the industry leading community benefit funds attached to all our proposals to create long lasting legacies in the areas near our sites, by investing in skills and education, enterprise and sustainability and community facilities to benefit people of all ages for years to come.”