We want our wind farms to contribute to the economic and social well being of the areas in which they are situated. To achieve this, we work closely with local representative groups to determine the best model to ensure that the community has a stake in the success of the wind farm.
There are a number of models for delivering community benefits, chiefly:
Community benefit fund – A lump sum or ‘royalty’ per megawatt of installed capacity (MWI) to a recognised organisation that is representative of the community (for example, a community council in Scotland and Wales or a parish council in England). These usually have charitable status, so can receive and use the money without paying tax. The organisation then administers grants to applicants.
Cooperative model – Members of the public can buy shares in the wind farm and receive a dividend payment as well as any equity appreciation.
Sale and lease back – Communities buy one or more turbines at the wind farm and lease it back to the developers/operators, deriving a regular income from the arrangement.
- Community Foundation – The community benefit fund is ‘outsourced’ to the Community Foundation Networks in England and Wales or Scottish Community Foundation in Scotland. The Foundation offers a professional, hassle-free service which relieves the need for the community to create a new charitable trust. In agreement with relevant community groups and the developer, the Foundation handles all the administrative aspects of the benefit fund including the grant-making process and arranging board appointments/meetings.
Burcote Wind does not proscribe which model communities must follow – the appropriate vehicle is decided upon in consultation with local communities. However, we advise that those models which deliver benefits to the whole community are the most equitable. For example, a community benefit fund could be used to finance apprenticeships at a local college in renewable energy engineering.