Muirhall Energy strongly believes that community involvement should be an integral part of any wind farm development process and so our work with communities is at the core of every project we undertake.
Through engagement at the earliest stages of any development, we aim to create open, positive and mutually beneficial relationships with residents, businesses and organisations which are then strengthened and maintained throughout the lifespan of the project.
At all Muirhall windfarm developments, we offer an absolute minimum of £5,000 per Megawatt in terms of Community Investment, but this is often only the beginning of our community commitment.
In addition to our minimum of £5,000 per MW installed Community Investment, Muirhall Energy works with partner agencies to offer up to 10% shared ownership in every wind farm we develop. The Company invites the closest community councils and organisations to consider the advantages of community ownership and it is then up to these bodies to decide the extent of any co-ownership investment.
In order to help the community understand how the shared ownership offering works, Muirhall employs an established accountancy firm with experience in community ownership on projects throughout Scotland, to produce a prospectus detailing illustrative scenarios of how the community can finance their equity share and the projected dividends. Community ownership greatly increases funding potential and is in addition to, not instead of, the Community Investment fund. (More information on Community Ownership).
Initial Investment Funds for larger projects
Muirhall Energy recognises and acknowledges that windfarm developments can be disruptive for localities close to site during the construction phase and so we have established an initial investment fund protocol for our larger developments to help mitigate any adverse effects experienced by local people and businesses. These funds open to applications from community groups as construction begins and, with timely assessment and disbursement, have proved to be an important funding source for many groups and organisations.
An instance of a successful Initial Investment Fund was the £100,000 IIF associated with the Crossdykes project, announced in September 2019, which attracted a huge amount of interest, with close to £400,000 worth of applications from over 50 groups submitted. A few of the successful applications were
To see a full list of IIF recipients, please click here.
It is our belief that connectivity is crucial in rural communities.
Due to the scale and nature of our developments, we require superfast broadband to allow our sites to operate at full capacity. For Muirhall, this means installing fibre to rural locations which have had no - or limited - connectivity in the past.
At some of our current projects, and in order to assist in retaining and attracting young workers and families to the area, Muirhall has proposed to the grid operators delivering fibre broadband to the premises (FTTP) along the grid route.
If this is adopted at our developments, it has the potential to deliver FTTP to schools, village halls, businesses, residential properties and crofts. We anticipate bringing superfast broadband to the areas surrounding all Muirhall wind projects in future.
Update. We're pleased to have secured an agreement with Scottish specialist high speed internet provider Briskona to deliver a combination of FTTP and Fixed Wireless Access to 80 properties near our Crossdykes Wind Farm in the south of Scotland. Muirhall has covered the cost of infrastructure installation and the first 6 months subscription for all householders who opt to take advantage of this offer. We have also secured a 3 year price freeze for customers until 2024.
Muirhall has ensured that this system has sufficient capacity to accommodate further roll-out to communities surrounding our Hopsrig and Loganhead projects as soon as possible.
Further Training Opportunities
Muirhall is extremely proud to be in a unique partnership with Springboard UK – a charity dedicated to promoting hospitality and tourism as the career of choice through the UK, by helping young and unemployed people improve their prospects.
Although we are currently only offering the Springboard programmes in Dumfries and Galloway, we are keen to extend the programmes to areas surrounding new developments, should the communities be interested. To find out more, click the Crossdykes or Loganhead links.
Muirhall Energy is now working to support the development of turbine engineers courses. It is hoped to broaden access to such courses by employing hub and spoke delivery to Further Education colleges across Scotland, enabling trainees living close to our developments to become skilled technicians, thereby securing their employment prospects into the future.
Sponsorship and Support
Supporting good causes and effective, local charities is another key element of our community commitments. As well as our continued community-focused sponsorship, Muirhall Energy is proud to deliver ongoing sponsorship for RSABI – Scotland’s charity for helping people who have lived and worked on the land, and The Haven Centre, Forth – a Lanarkshire charity offering support for those with life-limiting illnesses.