Lephin wind farm could generate £16m for Argyll communities

14/09/12

16 July 2012 Leading Scottish onshore wind developer Burcote Wind has unveiled proposals for its Lephin wind farm in Argyll, which could generate an income for nearby communities of £16million over its lifetime.

The proposed wind farm site of up to 43 turbines (totalling 129 megawatts [MW] of electricity generating capacity) is located on the Cowal pensinsula, on the eastern shore of Loch Fyne, between the villages of Lephinmore and Otter Ferry. It is approximately 10km east of Lochgilphead, the nearest town.

Based on estimated average wind speeds of around 9.5 metres per second (m/s), the wind farm could produce around 407,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity annually – sufficient to power around 86,500 homes.

In addition, the Lephin proposal would displace 175,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year which would otherwise be produced by fossil fuel power stations.

As part of the proposal, Burcote Wind will help establish a community benefit fund for the area, based on a guaranteed annual contribution of £5,000 per megawatt of installed capacity on the site.

This would provide an annual fund of around £645,000 - £16.1million over the wind farm’s 25-year lifetime – to support community projects and create a long-lasting legacy for the area from improved access to skills training, education and support for local businesses.

Burcote Wind has already presented the proposals to local Community Councils and Argyll and Bute councillors and said that a long period of community engagement would follow, prior to the submission of a planning application in spring next year.

This will involve public exhibitions, community newsletters, a resident’s survey, a dedicated project website and the establishment of a community liaison group of local representatives, to create an ongoing dialogue with local people prior to submitting a planning application for the Lephin site.

Burcote Wind’s Chairman, Graham Brown, said:

“Our initial investigations suggest that the Lephin site benefits from very high average wind speeds, which would help to make the wind farm highly efficient and capable of powering the equivalent of nearly 90,000 homes – more than double the total number of households in Argyll and Bute.

“With an impressive installed generating capacity of 129MW, it would make a significant contribution towards Scotland’s national target for the equivalent of 100% of our electricity to come from renewables by 2020.

“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. We want to hear from local people about the priorities they would like to see supported by the proposed community benefit fund, worth more than £16million over the project’s lifetime.

 “The Lephin project represents an investment of around £175million and Burcote Wind has a strong commitment to investing locally. For example, our Memorandum of Understanding with Wind Towers Limited in Kintyre means we will source the towers for our turbines from Argyll and will employ local construction companies where possible.”

 

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.    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 Lephin 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 £645,000 (based on the output of 43 turbines with a combined installed capacity of 129MW), or £16.1million 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 ornithology. 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.

 

5.    Burcote Wind recently concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with Kintyre-based Wind Towers Limited – the only manufacturing plant of its kind in Scotland – under the terms of which Burcote Wind has agreed to offer Wind Towers Limited the chance to supply wind towers for its projects in Scotland where technically and commercially possible. The move will help to keep as much of Burcote’s investment in Scotland as possible, supporting jobs and skills. A video clip of the conclusion of the Memorandum is available here: http://youtu.be/TcaObfwYrwQ

 

For more information, please contact:

James Tout

Orbit Communications

0131 603 8996

james.tout@orbit-comms.co.uk

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