Community benefits and improved energy security were on the agenda as ScottishPower Renewables hosted a visit to Coal Clough windfarm by Antony Higginbotham MP and Ukranian parliamentary representative Volodymyr Kreidenko.
Built in 1992, Coal Clough is one of the oldest windfarms in England and a key part of ScottishPower Renewables’ assets. The 24 original turbines onsite were removed and replaced in 2015 by 8 more powerful models, not only creating supply chain opportunities in the process but increasing the windfarm’s generating capacity to 16 MW – enough clean, green energy to power the equivalent of 8500 homes.
Barry Carruthers, ScottishPower Renewables Managing Director for Onshore, said, “It’s a pleasure to host Mr Higginbotham and Mr Kreidenko and showcase the many benefits of Coal Clough windfarm. Renewables has never had a more critical role to play not just in generating more clean, green energy for the UK, but in supporting our local communities in their Net Zero journey and increasing energy security.
“It’s imperative that we move away from a reliance on fossil fuels and concentrate on growing our capacity to provide clean, green energy, as quickly as we can.”
When the windfarm came back online in 2015, ScottishPower Renewables introduced a Community Benefit Fund, paid annually, which has provided over £320,000 to date. Cliviger Parish Council administers the fund and local members on the panel make decisions on how to spend the money to best benefit the community.
Local amenities to benefit from the fund include: Cliviger Parish Hall, which will be upgraded with renewable energy to make it more energy efficient; solar panels and roof insulation for Mount Zion Church, and construction of a new community room in St John the Divine Church.
Gillian Arnot, Senior Stakeholder and Community Manager, ScottishPower Renewables, said, “We strive to be the best neighbour to the communities close to our operational windfarms and, to date, we have contributed more than £55m in community benefit funding to help them deliver a wide range of local initiatives.
“We think that the best decision-makers are our communities; we believe local people are best-placed to decide what will be of greatest benefit to them, putting the power firmly in their hands.”
Antony Higginbotham, MP for Burnley, said, “If you look at the war in Ukraine, we’ve seen first-hand hostile state actors such as Russia using energy as a weapon – driving up world prices, which has a real impact on residents in Burnley and Padiham.
“That’s why I’ve raised the importance of having energy security, which in my mind, can only come from more home-grown energy production. Windfarms like the one here in Cliviger form part of the mix and it’s been great to visit the site today.
“The Community Benefit Fund managed by Cliviger Parish Council has, over the years, proved a huge success too – putting money into community projects which benefit local residents. I’d like to thank ScottishPower Renewables for their continued investment in renewables and for organising the visit.”