Wind farm firm to cut energy bills

Wind farmA renewable energy supplier has announced plans to give people living near its wind farms lower electricity bills.

Good Energy said it will be launching the country's first local electricity tariff in early 2013, with local households set to benefit by more than £110 a year.
The future of onshore wind farms has been hotly debated both locally and in Government. 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 that the 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.

Despite the heated debate, the latest data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change's quarterly survey into public attitudes revealed that 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. The new tariff from Good Energy aims to respond directly to calls from the Government for wind farms to do more to reward the communities that host them.

The tariff will be available to around 400 existing and new customers who live within two kilometres of the company's Delabole wind farm in north Cornwall - the UK's first commercial wind farm when it opened in 1991. It will offer a 20% discount on Good Energy's standard electricity prices, which the company estimates will save an average customer in the area more than £110 over a year.

Good Energy's chief executive Juliet Davenport 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 discount will be available to local Delabole residents from early 2013 and customers will also qualify for an annual bonus payment of up to £50 per household if turbines generate more electricity than expected.
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