Potential Economic Benefits of Cnoc an Eas
The equivalent of 541 job years could be generated during the construction and operation phases of the Cnoc and Eas wind farm in Glen Urquhart if it gets the go ahead.
This is just one of the many potential economic benefits of the 13 turbine wind farm which have been set out in an addendum to the original application submitted by Force 9 Energy and its development partner EDF Energy Renewables on 29th February 2016.
Andrew Smith, Head of Planning and Development for Force 9 Energy explained: “The independent Economic Impacts Study of the development concluded that there would be a large number of construction jobs in the shorter term, as well as long term jobs managing and maintaining the wind farm. Additionally, both the construction and the maintenance of the wind farm would create a wide range of valuable opportunities for local businesses to service the supply chain for both goods and services.”
“The economist who produced the study based his assessment on the outcomes from other comparable wind farms. The number of job years created in Highland alone would be 360 and in Scotland as a whole this would increase to 541 job years. This has the potential to be really good news for a wide range of local businesses for years to come; and this is in addition to the environmental benefits of producing clean, sustainable energy.”
A further economic benefit of Cnoc an Eas would be the community benefit fund of up to £220k a year. Force 9 Energy has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Soirbheas, a local community charity which was set up “to strengthen and support the communities of Glen Urquhart and Strathglass, through investment in local renewable energy schemes.” This offers the opportunity for the local communities to benefit from a share of the revenues generated from the wind farm. Soirbheas is already using income from renewables to fund a range of local projects such as solar panels on Cannich Hall and supporting the local elderly and vulnerable.
Soirbheas would also have the opportunity to buy a share of the net revenue streams from Cnoc an Eas, with a guaranteed minimum annual return.
Andrew Smith explained: “It was made clear to us locally that we should speak with Soirbheas about community financial interest in the project because they are already established in the local area and have the necessary expertise. We fully accept they take a neutral position on the planning application itself, but it makes good sense for all to have the agreements concluded in advance.”