Local groups benefit from first wind farm community fund awards.
EDF Energy Renewables has officially opened its Park Spring wind farm near Barnsley.
The three turbine site between the villages of Great Houghton and Grimethorpe is capable of delivering over 8 megawatts (MW) of low carbon electricity, enough to meet the average annual needs of approximately 4,700 homes*.
The formal opening of the development was marked by the first awards to local organisations from the newly established Park Spring Wind Farm Community Fund.
The fund, set up by EDF Energy Renewables and administered by South Yorkshire Community Foundation, will make over £42,000 available each year over the lifetime of the wind farm to support local projects, events and organisations.
In the first round of applications nearly £20,000 was awarded to support six projects from local groups, including out of school activity sessions for young people, equipment for a local cricket club, new instruments for a music club and improvements to a church hall.
Applications are considered by a local steering group that includes representatives of local parish councils.
Matthieu Hue, Chief Executive of EDF Energy Renewables, said: “Park Spring wind farm represents another milestone for the company and for the UK’s low carbon credentials. We are proud to be part of South Yorkshire and to be in investing in the local area with new power generation infrastructure.
“We take a long term approach to the wind farms we develop and recognise the importance of supporting those communities in which we operate.
“It is therefore very pleasing that the first groups to receive support from the new benefit fund were able to join us to mark the opening of this project – and that many more local initiatives in the Barnsley area will now be able to share in the success of the wind farm and benefit from the fund in the future.”
With the addition of Park Spring, EDF Energy Renewables now operates 30 wind farms with an installed capacity of just under 600 MW to power 334,900 homes across the UK*.
Nick Bradford, Head of Asset Management, EDF Energy Renewables said: “Park Spring is another important building block in EDF Energy Renewables’ contribution to the UK’s low carbon economy which we are expanding all the time.
“We want to be part of the community around the wind farm and hope the benefit fund will make a real difference to local neighbourhoods.”
*Based on onshore turbines operating at 26.22% capacity (2010-2014 average load factor for onshore wind from Digest of UK Energy Statistics) and assuming 4,115 is the average UK household electricity consumption in kW hours (based on DECC’s “Energy Consumption in the UK” (July 2015).