A MULTI-MILLION pound fund could soon help thousands of families in one Scottish community save a fortune on their energy bills.

As part of Banks Renewables proposed 38-turbine Bodinglee Wind Farm and battery storage development near the town of Douglas in South Lanarkshire, the company has proposed the creation of a £50 million community fund accumulating over the project’s 40-year lifespan.

The proposal states that a large portion of the money would be ring-fenced for the creation of a community-owned organisation called the Clydesdale Community Energy Transition company (CCETco).

The CCETco would then help people living locally with energy efficient improvements to their homes, including insulation, air source heat pumps and solar panels.

A study commissioned by Banks Renewables from consultants Natural Power showed that funding these measures could result in savings of between £2-4.4 million annually for 6500 households in the area.

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The same households are all identified as being particularly exposed to rising energy costs and include a higher-than-average proportion of older, energy inefficient properties.

Addressing this issue has been highlighted as the biggest priority for local communities as a result of several community consultation events that took place last year as the family firm developed its proposals for Bodinglee Wind Farm.

Robin Winstanley, sustainability and external affairs manager at Banks Renewable, said that the proposed community benefits of the windfarm would have a meaningful impact on the area.

The National:

“The overwhelming feedback that we received at our consultation events was that households want help to lower their energy bills, especially if they are hosting a nationally significant green energy development,” he said.

“We have now developed a proposal whereby the Bodinglee project will enable a community-led organisation that will be able to improve the energy efficiency of homes and community buildings in the area helping thousands of people living nearby to save money on their energy bills.

“There is still a lot to discuss and determine and we want communities to be informed of the project and to attend one of these events to help us finalise our proposals by sharing their views on the issues important to them.

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“As well as being the first of its type in the county, this innovative community package is a milestone for Scotland and could act as an important blueprint for wind farms around the country.”

The company has also offered a 1% stake in the wind farm to the community, with a further 9% being available to purchase at market rates if they wish to do so.

If the project is approved it would become one of the most powerful onshore windfarms in the UK, providing more than 200,000 households with electricity and saving 118,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

It is also expected to create around 780 full-time equivalent jobs throughout its lifetime.