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Wind farm 'could save residents over £110 energy costs a year'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 20, 2012

  • Juliet Davenport, chief executive of Good Energy, at the Delabole wind farm in North Cornwall and below, with local resident Ann Hopkin Picture: Richard Austin

  • 'It's only right that our local communities should be recognised for their contribution to tackling climate change and reducing the UK's reliance on imported fossil fuels' Juliet Davenport, Good Energy

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Energy suppliers are offering residents in a North Cornish village living near wind turbines cheaper electricity.

Around 400 existing and new customers who live within two kilometres of Good Energy's Delabole wind farm could save more than £110 a year with a 20% discount.

While company chiefs hailed the offer as the country's first local electricity tariff, critics of wind farms said they were "suspicious" of the move.

The tariff will be brought in early next year at the site, which became the country's first commercial wind farm when it opened in 1991.

If more electricity is generated than expected residents and customers will also qualify for an annual bonus of up to £50 per household.

The new tariff aims to respond directly to calls from the Government for wind farms to do more to reward the communities that host them.

Good Energy's chief executive Juliet Davenport said it was only fair local communities were rewarded for doing their bit for the environment.

She said: "Wind power has a huge role to play in meeting the UK's future energy needs and we think that it's only right that our local communities should be recognised for their contribution to tackling climate change and reducing the UK's reliance on expensive imported fossil fuels."

The future of onshore wind farms has been hotly debated both locally and nationally.

In September, Energy Secretary Ed Davey launched a consultation to explore how communities could secure financial, social and environmental benefit from hosting onshore wind farms.

But critics argue turbines are being imposed on communities and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has warned the Government against promoting a system in which communities are "paid off" to secure planning permission.

Significant opposition to onshore wind farms has also been voiced by a number of Tory MPs in the run-up to the Government's Energy Bill, due to be published this week. Some want to see subsidies for the technology slashed.

Latest data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change's quarterly survey into public attitudes revealed 66% of people were in favour of onshore wind, although the figure was lower than for other renewable technologies.

Onshore wind had the highest level of opposition of the renewable energy sources, although only 12% opposed the technology, with just 4% strongly opposed to it.

Alan Nunn, of Realistic Energy Forum South West, said residents in Delabole needed to be careful about the tariff rate they were signing up to, which could increase.

He said: "I'm very suspicious of the company's motives here. For a start Good Energy will get so much in government subsidies it won't make any difference to them how much discount they give locals.

"We really need to know if Good Energy are doing this as a sweetener simply to get more turbines running, which is no good for Cornwall because they ruin the landscape and are inefficient. It's really just a bit of PR for the company."

However, consumer experts said cheaper energy was of major importance to customers.

Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which? magazine, said rising energy prices were one of consumers' top concerns.

He said: "Customers being hit hard by inflation-busting price rises from big supplies should now ask why some of the smaller suppliers can buck the trend."

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  • mrcrashhappy  |  November 20 2012, 3:53PM

    How is slaughtering wild birds by the lorryload preserving the environment? Global Warming is a political sham. Dr. Mann and his colleagues at East Anglia haven't been able to disguise their dishonesty, the public record is clear, yet the crony capitalists persist in their greening ways. My sympathies to anyone who must suffer the presence of a "wind farm."

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  • dee_2  |  November 20 2012, 2:21PM

    Both the previous comments have hit the nail on the head. You have to ask yourself what is this government - the conservatives and liberal democrats - doing with this continued sinking of our money in pursuit of useless green energy. If, as pointed out, it was sustainable and 'free' then subsidies wouldn't be needed. It seems the ConDems, like their predecessor Nulabour, are always looking for new ways of taking money from our pockets to transfer it to private pockets. It's been going on for too long now whether it's charges for parking at a hospital or paying out £58 Million a day to belong to the EU. A vote for UKIP will end this nonsense.

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  • hensrule  |  November 20 2012, 11:33AM

    This bribe of just over £100 a year is a cruel joke given that high energy bills are due, in part, to the huge subsidies given to the wind energy companies. How can this ridiculous sum ever compensate local residents for the loss of stunning countryside? In addition, there is the impact on house prices due to the proximity of inefficient and unreliable wind turbines - which has been recognsied for some years in Denmark where there is a compensation scheme in place, and around the UK where some homeowners have been placed into lower council tax bands due to a drop in value of their homes. Why is the Government dithering over this issue? It is immoral that, at a time when more and more people are going into fuel poverty, that these energy companies are being allowed to syphon off even more money from their customers. If these towering monsters truly work then they should be able to operate without subsidies from the already struggling British public.

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  • nickthompson  |  November 20 2012, 9:36AM

    Wow,£110 pounds a year,seems a fair trade off for listening to the noise they make 24/7,the eyesore everytime you look out of your windows,and last but by no means least no perspective house buyer would give you a second glance.

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