£1billion investment led by Burcote Wind to create 600 jobs in Scotland
A £1bn investment in wind farm projects across Scotland led by renewable energy developer Burcote Wind could create almost 600 jobs and power over half a million homes.
The independent UK firm, which has its headquarters in Dunfermline, has plans to develop 10 wind farms at locations across Scotland, from Aberdeenshire to Dumfries and Galloway, totalling nearly 800MW of installed electricity generating capacity.
If consented, the projects could produce an annual electricity output of around 2.6million megawatt-hours (MWh), capable of meeting the energy needs of 554,000 homes and displacing over 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide which would otherwise be produced by fossil fuel power plants.
The 10 pipeline projects represent a total investment of around £1.08bn, including pre-planning costs, capital expenditure on turbines and grid connection upgrades, and ongoing operating costs.
As well as creating around 110 permanent jobs in engineering and maintenance around the wind farms, the schemes would also support approximately 475 construction jobs during their build phases – a total of 585.
Burcote Wind is currently consulting on proposals for four sites – Meikleton (Aberdeenshire), Creggan (Argyll and Bute), Sandy Knowe and Benshinnie (both Dumfries and Galloway), for which planning applications will be submitted over the coming 18 months. Six other sites are at early stages of environmental and technical appraisal and not yet in the public domain.
Burcote Wind will take each of its sites through the planning process to allow the wind farms to be built, shouldering all the risk. The firm would then seek partners to make the capital investment needed to procure, erect and connect the wind turbines.
At each site, Burcote Wind is proposing to establish community benefit funds which it hopes can create a long-lasting legacy by funding education and training places at local colleges in engineering and other renewables-related subjects, as well as supporting other local priorities. The total value of proposed community benefit funding across the 10 sites totals £60million over the 25-year lifetimes of the wind farms.
Graham Brown, Chairman of Burcote Wind, said:
“Our pipeline of projects represents a major investment in Scotland’s renewables sector worth around £1billion, with the potential to create and support nearly 600 jobs.
“We’re adamant that we want our projects to contribute to Scotland’s ambitions to reinvigorate its industrial base. So as well as creating skilled jobs, we are exploring opportunities to use community benefit funding to create training opportunities for young people at local colleges and help equip our workforce with the skills needed for Scotland to take full advantage of the huge economic potential the renewables industry has to offer.
“By providing vital investment in skills, these projects can help Scotland become a world leader in renewables technology in the years to come.”
He added that several factors made Scotland an attractive place for renewables investment:
“Scotland is fortunate to have huge energy resources – and wind must be counted among the best of these. With around a quarter of Europe’s wind resource, it would be crazy not to harness that power, especially as fossil fuels become scarcer and ever more expensive.
“Politically, there is strong support across the spectrum, with the Scottish Parliament having set some of the world’s most ambitious targets for renewables generation and emissions reduction.
“We have also been impressed by the commitment of the Scottish Government to making the transition to renewables a reality.”
Mr Brown said the debate around Scottish independence would not deter Burcote Wind from bringing forward its investment plans. He said:
“While the debate around the independence referendum will continue over the next couple of years, whatever the outcome of that vote, it’s clear that Scotland will continue to have a crucial role to play in delivering a renewables revolution in Europe and throughout the world.
“Whatever Scotland decides, we remain confident the country’s future economic success lies in supporting a vibrant renewable energy industry.
“Burcote Wind’s investment demonstrates our conviction that Scotland is committed to delivering that success – and we want to play our part in helping to turn that vision into a reality.”
Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said:
“This is another fantastic example of a homegrown company bringing much needed jobs and investment to Scotland through developing renewable energy projects.
“Burcote Wind will make a valuable contribution to local economies throughout the country while ensuring we take the necessary steps towards meeting the ambitious 2020 renewable energy targets and cutting harmful carbon emissions.”
In a statement released by the Scottish Government, First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed the plans. He said:
“Burcote’s announcement is very welcome and further evidence of the significant interest from a range of businesses in investing in Scotland’s world-leading renewable energy industry.
“Scotland’s renewable energy sector is estimated to have secured a record-breaking 750 million pounds of investment in the year to October 2011, with a pipeline of proposed projects with 17 gigawatts of generating capacity, worth an estimated capital investment of 46 billion pounds.
“While each project will be subject to the appropriate planning processes, this proposed investment underlines yet again how our natural resources are creating new, green jobs and putting Scotland at the forefront of the renewables revolution.”
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.www.burcotewind.com.
2. For more information, please contact Orbit Communications on 0131 257 4232 or email email@example.com.