Community groups in Cumnock and the surrounding area could be set to benefit from more than £600,000 in wind farm benefit funding.

The nine community councils in the area - collectively known as the '9CC Group' - has secured a £628,000 first instalment fund from Brockwell Energy’s North Kyle windfarm site near Dalmellington.

It's the first time a wind farm developer in Scotland has provided 'community benefit' funding for local projects before a site has even started operating.

In the works since 2019, the 9CC group comprises the community councils of Auchinleck, Cumnock, Netherthird, Cronberry, Logan & Lugar (CLL), New Cumnock, Dalmellington, Patna, Drongan - Rankinston & Stair (DRS) and Ochiltree & Skares.

READ MORE: New group officially launches to benefit communities

It was established as a dedicated single Trust for wind farm developments and future community benefits in the area.

The £628,000 comes on top of initial funding of £200,000 to help the 9CC group with set up costs.

This is in addition to an indexed £1,102,000 per annum, based on the standard £5,000 per annum per MW, which will commence when the scheme is fully commissioned, with the project expected to generate around £60 million over its 35 year operating life.

This award, together with support from REG Windpower (Knockkippen), OnPath Energy (Lethans) and Invenergy (Pencloe), allows the 9CCG to fulfil its first major community funding awards.

The successful bids to the fund are expected to be announced soon.

Cumnock Chronicle: Members of the 9CC group during its official launch last year.Members of the 9CC group during its official launch last year. (Image: 9CC group)

Alex Baird, chair of the 9CC group, said:  “In the recent funding round we received over 80 requests amounting to more than £750,000, which shows the clear community need for such funding.

"These will be scrutinised and recipients will be announced shortly, building on the strong community engagement we have had across East Ayrshire.

"We look forward to working with local stakeholders and Brockwell to deliver both strategic and legacy benefits for our communities.

"Unsuccessful projects will be assisted in making applications in the next funding round.”

Stephen McCarron, the 9CC group's chief operating officer, said: “This is a significant gift by Brockwell Energy and we are delighted by their ongoing support and commitment to our communities.

“The hills around our communities are ideal for hosting a large cluster of wind schemes that are not only of significant national importance in achieving climate change goals but will generate community benefit that will exceed £150 million over the next 40 years."

READ MORE: £300 million wind farm near Dalmellington hits its latest milestone

Iain Cockburn, CFO of Brockwell Energy added: “We welcome the chance to work with the 9CC group and see the value in their coordination of the process to ensure the right long term legacy benefits are identified by the communities and delivered.

"The huge amount of funding at stake will make it increasingly important that funding dissemination is carefully coordinated to best serve those communities."