People living near wind farms will receive at least £100 off electricity bills under a scheme announced by a renewable energy company.
The initiative by RES for homes and businesses near its new wind farms will pay out the cash regardless of who their supplier is, and it will not require people to switch supplier or tariff in order to get the discount (see our Cheap Gas and Electricity and Cheap Prepaid Gas and Electricity guides for help on cutting bills).
The area and number of properties which will qualify for the scheme will vary from site to site, depending on factors such as the number and capacity of wind turbines and the density of houses in the vicinity.
The first to benefit from the scheme will be those closest to the Meikle Carewe wind farm in Aberdeenshire and Tallentire wind farm in Cumbria, both of which are expected to be up and running by the summer.
The fund will contribute £3,000 per megawatt (MW) of installed power to discounts on people's bills. At Tallentire the six turbines form a 12MW wind farm, and in Meikle Carewe the 12 turbines total 10MW.
Communities will also receive annual contributions of £2,000 per megawatt to local initiatives and organisations.
Gordon MacDougall, RES UK & Ireland chief operating officer, says: "Often when we've talked to communities around our wind farms, people have asked if they can have cheaper electricity in return for hosting a project, so we've worked out a way to make that happen.
"We will offer those residential, community and business properties closest to a proposed RES wind farm a discount of at least £100 per year off their electricity bills, which will be paid directly to their electricity supplier. The discount will apply for the lifetime of the wind farm – around 25 years."