RWE is committed to supporting the communities that neighbour our wind farms and in 2022 alone we invested £4.5m into the communities that surround our renewable energy projects. We have a strong track record of engaging local communities in the process of deciding how each fund should be structured and administered. We have a long history of engaging with communities in the New Cumnock area, where the wind farm is located, throughout the process of developing and operating several other wind farms over many years.
Enoch Hill Wind Farm, once operational, will bring with it an annual community fund worth up to £350,000 per year, index linked, for the operational lifetime of the wind farm.
We are closely following the work of the 9CC group, including their development of an area wide strategic action plan, and are also aware of the work local communities, including New Cumnock, have undertaken to develop their own local community action plans. We will be carefully considering how funds from Enoch Hill Wind Farm could add value to these plans.
At this stage it is important to stress that no decision has been made about how the funds from Enoch Hill Wind Farm will be administered and distributed. This decision will only be taken after an extended period of consultation with the communities that neighbour the wind farm. Consultation with a wide range of stakeholders is a cornerstone of both RWE’s usual approach, and the Scottish Government’s good practise principles in delivering benefits from wind farms. RWE’s experience in this field shows the importance of direct developer engagement with a wide cross section of the local community, to make sure we have considered all different views on which communities should benefit from the fund, and the distribution and decision-making model. This is especially important when considering how funds might be shared at a more regional level. Any proposed funding delivery model will also need to be reviewed in line with RWE’s internal processes and compliance rules.