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 fundamental to 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.
Community investment is central to what Muirhall Energy do. With our partners we work to offer up to 10% shared ownership with the local community on the larger wind farms we develop. This is on top of the minimum £5,000 community investment for every MW installed which rises to £7,000 per MW on larger sites.
We invite the closest community councils and organisations to consider the advantages of community ownership, and it is then up these groups to decide the extent of any shared ownership investment.
We ensure the community is kept informed and understands how the shared ownership offering works. We employ an established accountancy firm, with experience in community projects throughout Scotland, to produce a detailed prospectus of ways the community can finance their share as well as the projected benefits. Community ownership greatly increases the potential for community funding and is additional to, not instead of, the Community Investment money.
Crossdykes Shared Ownership
Our wind farm at Crossdykes is an example of the success of the shared ownership scheme. Through collaboration between Muirhall Energy, Local Energy Scotland and the Dumfriesshire East Comunity Benefit Group, several of the closest community councils to Crossdykes secured a 5% stake in the wind farm, providing major potential for further community investment.
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.
Sponsorship and Support
Supporting good causes and effective, local charities is another key element of our community commitments. 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.
Other ongoing sponsorship commitments include 3 year agreements with Hawick Youth Rugby Club, North West Skye FC and the Isle of Skye Half Marathon. Muirhall Energy has also committed to the sponsorship of our local Carnwath Agricultural Show for 5 years and have been helping to support the switch on of the Lockerbie Christmas Lights since 2016. A donation to Lockerbie Rotary Club during the COVID pandemic in 2020 has allowed them to create ‘trains’ from recycled whisky barrels and distribute them to local schools for use in their playgrounds.