Onshore wind projects are already contributing more than £6.5 million a year to Welsh Communities and could grow to £20 million, research from RenewableUK Cymru finds.
A new report released at the Future Energy Wales conference in Newport today, Onshore Wind in Wales: How our sector works with communities demonstrates how different regions in Wales stand to gain far more than just clean energy from the pipeline of onshore wind projects on the horizon.
The direct benefits already delivered by operational onshore wind projects in Wales are astounding. Based on just under 1.3GW of operational sites, our research has identified that existing Community Benefit Fund schemes offer over £6.5 million of investment to Welsh communities annually. If we were to expand our onshore wind capacity by an additional 2.2 GW, capable of powering nearly 1.5 million homes, this could translate into nearly £20 million being injected directly into our communities each year.
RenewableUK Cymru launched the report at a special roundtable session with Minister for Climate Change, Julie James MS, who emphasised the importance of working with industry to generate funds and good practice that benefits the people of Wales.
Communities have a crucial role in supporting the technology that powers their homes and vehicles. The report showcases a number of case studies to provide insight on the broader benefits onshore wind brings through local ownership, electricity discount schemes and benefit funds.
One key takeaway emphasised is the importance of customising community benefits to suit each community’s needs. Community benefits should be flexible, transparent and proportionate with the scale of development and impact on host communities.
Manon Kynaston, Assistant Director of RenewableUK Cymru said:
“Wales stands at the threshold of an extraordinary transformation towards a sustainable and prosperous future. The potential is evident, but we are making it very clear to Welsh Government that this can only be realised in an environment conducive to ongoing development. Obstacles related to planning and grid constraints persist. This is precisely why we need a clear roadmap and delivery plan to unlock the community benefits described in this report and advance our collective goal of true partnership working in Wales.”