THOUSANDS of households whose views will be blighted if a new wind farm goes ahead are to receive discounts to their energy bills under a new pilot scheme.
Homes nearest the new farm being planned in South Lanarkshire will receive the largest rebate of up to £400 on their electricity bill plus a 10% discount.
Rebates and discounts will be reduced the further away a home is, but it is anticipated up to 12,000 homes could benefit.
The scheme, the first of its type in Scotland, will only apply if the 12-turbine Auchrobert Wind Farm project being planned near Lesmahagow gets the go-ahead.
A planning application has just been submitted to South Lanarkshire Council for the site, which is used for commercial forestry and upland grazing.
The proposed wind farm would have 12 turbines with a tower height of 262ft, and 444ft to the highest blade tip, which would be more than twice the height of Edinburgh's Scott Monument.
Households would have to switch to the green energy supplier, Green Energy UK, in order to qualify.
The pilot scheme aims to ensure that those most affected by a wind farm benefit the most.
Coriolis Energy is working on the project with Falck Renewables Wind.
David Morris, project manager of Coriolis Energy, said: "Falck Renewables has always had an innovative approach to community benefit. They were the first wind farm developer to provide a community turbine at their Earlsburn wind farm near Fintry in Stirlingshire and are the only wind farm developer in Scotland that offers local people the chance to own a share in their local wind farm through co-operatives.
"We've agreed to pilot this scheme, which gives direct benefits to those people living closest to a wind farm."
Green Energy UK will set prices based on ScottishPower's standard fixed-rate tariff for the local area. The discount and rebate will depend on the distance of a home from the nearest turbine.
Anybody living within Zone One – 1.24 miles, or 2km, from the site – will get a £400 rebate on their electricity bill, as well as a 10% discount. Within Zone Two – between 1.24 miles and 2.5 miles (2km-4km) away – the householders would get a £200 rebate, as well as the 10% discount. In the wider area – Zone Three – residents will receive a 10% discount on their electricity bill.
The discount scheme will benefit residents in Lesmahagow, Strathaven and Blackwood/Kirkmuirhill, as well as smaller settlements closer to the site.