Chleansaid Wind Farm - The Benefits
If ESB's proposals for Chleansaid Wind Farm are consented, the benefits associated with it will span the local environment, economy and community.
A Climate Emergency has been declared by both The Highland Council and the Scottish Government. If consented and constructed, Chleansaid Wind Farm would:
- provide clean, renewable energy, helping the Scottish Government reach its target for net-zero carbon by 2045 and interim 2030 targets
- generate up to 224,862 MWh of renewable electricity each year, enough output to power the equivalent of 53,350 households for a year
- replace fossil fuels from the electricity generation system, saving up to 79,052 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year in comparison with the existing electricity generation sources supplying the national grid.
Working collaboratively with conservation bodies, environmental specialists and landowners, ESB is committed to exploring opportunities to enhance the natural habitats local to the Chleansaid Wind Farm. These will form part of ESB’s package of mitigation, offsetting and enhancement measures for the project. The details of these will be included in documentation accompanying the application for consent, including a Peat Management Plan and Habitat Management Plan.
Enhancement activities currently under discussion include restoration of peat lands, native woodland planting, and targeted measures to improve habitats for protected species. Opportunities for such enhancements will be explored across the wider estate rather than solely focusing on the footprint of the development.
During both the construction and the proposed 35-year operation of the wind farm, the Chleansaid project will provide opportunities to support the local economy. A range of contracts for the construction of the Chleansaid Wind Farm will be available for tender. Local companies will be encouraged to apply for contracts and given preference where possible.
ESB is committed to setting up a community benefit fund to the value of £5,000 per installed MW. This could equate to up to £500,000 per year, for 35 years (calculated on base assumptions on turbine numbers once the project is consented and operational). This would equate to up to £17.5 million community benefit funding over the lifetime of the project.
The communities that will be impacted by the construction and operation of the proposed wind farm will be invited to help shape a community benefit package that best meets local needs. ESB will reach out to local groups and community representatives to seek their input as the project progresses. There are many community benefit options being considered, from capital funding and local regeneration to support for local groups and clubs. All ideas will be actively discussed with community councils, development trusts and local representatives in the surrounding areas.
ESB is committed to community shared ownership of the Chleansaid Wind Farm project. Community shared ownership gives a community the opportunity to invest in the wind farm and benefit from revenue generated by the project, which can then be used to invest in local initiatives. We welcome discussions with the local community if there is interest in community shared ownership.