£1million-plus windfall for Aberdeenshire communities as Burcote Wind announces plans for wind farm near Huntly

19/01/11

Local communities could benefit from a £1million-plus windfall as part of plans for a six-turbine wind farm near Huntly, Aberdeenshire.

Dunfermline-based developers Burcote Wind said the project at Meikleton of Ardonald, between the A96 and A920 roads, could:

  • Power 11,000 homes per year
  • Cut carbon dioxide emissions by 22,600 tonnes
  • Help Aberdeenshire reach its target to produce 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

The site, within the Aberdeenshire boundary midway between Huntly and Keith, sits in a natural topographical ‘bowl’ surrounded by hills, which will help to obscure the 125m high (including blades), 2.5 Megawatt (MW) turbines. In addition, views of the turbines from the valley of the protected River Deveron would be minimal and there would be no run-off from the wind farm site into the river.

Burcote Wind has begun an extensive consultation period with the local community. This will aim to address any concerns and look at how a proposed community benefit fund worth up to £45,000 per year for 25 years could be used to improve the area’s economic and social wellbeing.

Burcote Wind’s chairman, Graham Brown, said:

“We want our project at Meikleton to be a wind farm the whole community can be proud of.

“As part of the development, we’re proposing a significant community benefit fund which can be channelled into local good causes. The local community will have complete ownership of this fund and be able to decide for themselves how the money is spent.

“We think our proposal has a number of distinct advantages.

“Meikleton is distant from the major towns of Huntly and Keith and its visual effect in the landscape will be minimised by its location in a natural ‘bowl’ surrounded by hills. We’ve also ensured that it won’t impinge on views from the River Deveron or most major roads.

"There is an appropriate separation distance between Meikleton and currently operational and consented wind farms, such as the recently approved Clashindarroch project. 

“The site has high average wind speeds of around nine metres per second, which would enable the state-of-the-art turbines to produce a high volume of electricity.

“This is important as Aberdeenshire works towards the challenging target to produce 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Our proposal could make a big dent in Aberdeenshire’s carbon footprint by producing enough clean electricity to power nearly 11% of the area’s homes.

“We are still some way off from submitting a planning application, but we wanted to start talking to the community now so we can take their views into account as we develop our proposals. That way, we can hopefully allay any concerns and get the whole community behind this plan.”

Notes to Editors

  1. The proposed community benefit fund is equivalent to an annual payment of £3,000 per Megawatt (MW) of installed generating capacity. This would produce an annual ‘royalty’ to the community of up to £45,000 (based on the output of six turbines of 15MW), or £1.125million 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.
     
  2. 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. A planning application will not be submitted until the first quarter of 2012 at the earliest.
     
  3. 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.

For more information, please contact:
 
James Tout
Indigo
0131 554 9150
07866 602 985
james@indigopr.com

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