£13.5 million community benefit fund to accompany Longburn wind farm proposal
26th June 2012 Draft plans have been unveiled for a wind energy development comprising up to 36 turbines on a site around four miles (6.7 kilometres) due east of the village of Carsphairn and around seven miles (11.6 kilometres) west of Moniaive in the Castle Douglas and Glenkens area of Dumfries and Galloway.
Dunfermline-based independent renewable energy company Burcote Wind has announced the Longburn wind farm proposal, which would have a potential installed capacity of 108 megawatts (MW) and the capability to generate more than 280,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually, sufficient to meet the electricity needs of more than 60,000 homes.
The Longburn site location is relatively remote, benefits from very good wind resource with average wind speeds in the region of 8 metres per second, and is largely surrounded by established woodland, which would help to screen the project from long distance views.
If the proposals secure planning permission as currently proposed, they will be accompanied by a community benefit fund that would deliver a cumulative benefit to the local community worth £540,000 annually or £13.5 million over the project’s 25-year lifespan. This is based on a guaranteed annual contribution of £5,000 per megawatt of installed capacity on the site.
Burcote Wind emphasises that a planning application for development of the site will not be submitted until spring 2013 at the earliest but is keen to give the local community extensive opportunity in advance of this to feed into its draft proposals for the site.
Over the coming months, the company’s programme of community engagement and consultation will include a number of public exhibitions in the local area, the circulation of newsletters to local addresses providing updates on the project, and the creation of a dedicated website providing more detailed information about the proposal. Burcote Wind is also inviting feedback from the local community with a view to defining an agreed approach that would enable the associated community benefit fund to be targeted effectively towards addressing local priorities.
Subject to close consultation with the local community, Burcote Wind has suggested up to 40% of the community benefit could be targeted towards specific measures in areas such as skills development, training and infrastructure, designed to help secure sustainable economic development in this remote rural area of Dumfries and Galloway.
Burcote Wind Chairman Graham Brown said:
“We think this is a very appropriate site for a wind farm, with the capability to generate sufficient electricity to power many thousands of homes. Of course, there is still a lot of detailed work to be done to assess the site and we are a long way from submitting a planning application.
“At the same time, we’re keen to make sure that we listen carefully to any specific issues or concerns the local community may raise so that, wherever possible, these are reflected in the final planning application. We’re also committed to working in partnership with local communities to ensure they benefit substantially if this project goes ahead.
“For both of these reasons, we’re announcing our draft proposals now to give the local community ample opportunity to feed into them before we submit a planning application.”
Mr. Brown concluded:
“In the months ahead, we will keep people regularly updated about the project. We look forward to receiving views and feedback from a broad cross-section of the local community about the proposals themselves as well as potential priorities for investment of the associated community benefit fund.
“We recognise the particular challenges currently faced by remote rural communities such as the one surrounding the Longburn site. We’ve recently increased our community benefit offering by £2,000 per megawatt with a view to meeting those particular challenges and supporting sustainable economic development. We look forward to working closely with local businesses, local training providers and the wider community to develop a tailored approach that would ensure this project delivers sustainable long-term economic benefits to the area.”
Notes to Editors
1. Burcote Wind is an independent renewable energy company based in Dunfermline, Scotland, but active throughout the UK. The company specialises in onshore wind energy projects from the identification and design stage right through to construction and operation.
2. Burcote Wind currently has a pipeline of 10 onshore wind energy projects at varying stages of development, representing a cumulative capital investment of more than £1 billion and with the potential to create and support almost 600 jobs.
3. The proposed community benefit fund for the proposed Longburn wind farm is equivalent to an annual payment of £5,000 per Megawatt (MW) of installed generating capacity. This would produce an annual ‘royalty’ to the community of up to £540,000 (based on the output of 36 turbines with a combined installed capacity of 108MW), or £13.5 million over the 25 year lifespan of the development. The exact vehicle for delivering this resource to local community projects will be determined in close consultation with community representatives.
4. As part of the future planning application, Burcote Wind will need to compile a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to identify the potential impact of building the wind farm on the local environment, ecology and plant and animal life. The EIA must demonstrate that the benefits of developing the site clearly outweigh any potentially negative impacts. In addition, Burcote Wind will have to demonstrate how the site can be physically and ecologically restored following the 25 year lifespan of the wind farm.
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