Construction of the Beinn an Tuirc 3 windfarm was completed in October 2021.
Concerns have been raised with Argyll and Bute Council chiefs about wind farms in Kintyre which have been the subject of deals with global giant Amazon.
A Carradale resident submitted a public question to the authority’s Mid Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands area committee asking how the council thinks the deal is supporting Kintyre.
The question came after a national broadcaster’s article which stated that all power generated at the Beinn an Tuirc 3 wind farm, operated by Scottish Power Renewables, belongs to Amazon as a result of a ‘power purchase agreement’.
A council official responded that private funding arrangements between developers and on-shore wind farms were not for the council to decide upon.
And Fergus Murray, the authority’s head of economic growth, also insisted that the impact on local communities was a ‘key issue’ when deciding whether wind farms should be given the go-ahead.
The public question, and Mr Murray’s response, were read out by a clerk at the area committee’s meeting on Wednesday September 7.
Resident Sarah Moorcroft said: ‘During this time of extreme financial hardship, with massive increases in electricity prices, and with families across Kintyre having to make decisions about how to prioritise food or heating for their families, does the council consider that it is fair that electricity generated on the Kintyre peninsula is being used to support a rich multinational organisation over and above the people who live and work on Kintyre?
‘What support is being given by the council to help local communities negotiate with these energy suppliers, so that local people can benefit from local and reduced tariff electricity powered by Kintyre winds?
‘The people of Kintyre need access both to locally-generated electricity similar to the 20 per cent ownership schemes in Denmark, business skills to assist with complicated negotiations with multinationals, and support with lobbying the Scottish Parliament for a fair share of renewable energy generated on local soil.
‘Can the council outline how they are supporting Kintyre in this area?’
Mr Murray’s response was: ‘The council determines the suitability, or otherwise, of on-shore wind developments through the planning system.
‘Wind farms over 50MW are determined through the section 36 process by the Scottish Government with the council consulted on to provide a local view. Windfarms under 50MW are determined by the council as a planning authority.
‘Private funding arrangements with the developers of on-shore wind farms and third parties are not a matter the council has any jurisdiction on.
‘Developers have to go down these routes to obtain the necessary finance to develop their schemes.
‘Without access to this type of funding, on-shore wind was/is unlikely to be viable, although the market is constantly changing depending on the price of electricity and government subsidy. A key issue considered by the council when determining the suitability of a wind farm or otherwise is the impact on local communities and the landscape. This has resulted in a number of refusals being given and we also look at cumulative impacts.
‘It should be noted that not all the profit from these farms leaves Argyll and Bute. Most companies have developed community benefit schemes that give back to communities and in Kintyre the latest scheme through Scottish Power Renewables distributes circa £270,000 split between three Kintyre community councils.
‘We also have the example of Glenbarr, a wind farm developed by Fyne Futures, and of course Gigha, which was one of the first community-owned wind farms.
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