31 August 2001

Turbines to offer farmers windfall?

WIND turbines could become a common sight following the launch of a new scheme to encourage farmers to site small groups of turbines on their land.

National Wind Power, a UK energy business, claims that its WindWorks initiative will provide farmers with a rental income and help the environment. The scheme requires farmers to provide sites and act as "local ambassadors" to allay public concerns and difficulties with planning approvals.

New legislation obliges electricity generating companies to source 10% of their supplies from renewable sources by 2010. The company claims that the public will be less inclined to object to turbines if they are seen to benefit "struggling" farmers" who are part of the local community.

Energy minister Brian Wilson launched the initiative at Bearsdown Wind Farm, near Padstow, Cornwall. Mr Wilson said developing renewable energy sources was "sheer commonsense". The idea of ritual opposition to wind turbines seemed to be "absurd and completely inconsistent with societys demand for renewable energy sources," he added.

WindWorks development manager Matt Partridge was wary of giving firm figures on the income that farmers could expect. It would vary from site to site, depending on how windy it was, and how close the turbine was to the grid. However, he indicated that groups of between one and three turbines could yield a rent of around £5000/year. &#42