Benshinnie wind farm could bring £5.4million to local community

29/06/11

22 June 2011 Green energy firm Burcote Wind has unveiled proposals for a wind farm near Parton which could power the equivalent of 75% of all homes in Dumfries and Galloway and generate up to £5.4million for the local community.

The 24-turbine proposal at Benshinnie benefits from high average wind speeds of 9 metres per second and is distant from major settlements.
 
The wind farm, with an installed capacity of 72 megawatts (MW) would produce enough electricity to power around 53,000 homes. It would offset around 107,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year, reducing Dumfries and Galloway’s carbon footprint.
 
Burcote Wind has said that, as part of its proposals, it would create a community benefit fund worth up to £216,000 per year, or £5.4million over the 25-year lifetime of the wind farm. 
 
This could provide funds for local organisations and initiatives in close proximity to the wind farm and a delivery mechanism would be agreed with local representative groups.
 
Burcote Wind chairman Graham Brown said:
 
“Our proposal at Benshinnie has the potential to power the equivalent of three quarters of all the homes in Dumfries and Galloway and make a significant contribution to Scotland’s ambitious national target to produce 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2020.
 
“But we’re very clear that we want the local community to see tangible benefits from having a wind farm in their area, which is why we’re proposing a community benefit fund worth around £5.4million over the lifetime of the wind farm. 
 
“The Benshinnie site benefits from being distant from major settlements and, thanks to the topography of the site, would be obscured from many local viewpoints. 
 
“We know that wind farm developments can be a sensitive issue, which is why we’re starting our dialogue with the local community now – well in advance of any planning application.
 
“This will include holding a number of community engagement events over the coming months, as well as setting up a liaison forum with local groups and a dedicated website for the proposal.
 
“We’re also conscious of the importance of tourism in the Glenkens, which is why we’ll be extending our consultation activities to include the views of tourists. We want to gather information from tourists themselves to get some real insight into what they think of our proposal.” 
 
 
Notes to Editors
 
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 £216,000 (based on the output of 24 turbines of 72MW), or £5.4million 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.
 
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 summer of 2012 at the earliest.
 
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
Orbit Communications
0131 257 4232/07989 610 276
James.tout@orbit-comms.co.uk 
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