Thumbs up for Nithsdale wind farm proposal
22 March 2012 Residents in Upper Nithsdale and neighbouring parts of East Ayrshire have given a broad welcome to renewable energy firm Burcote Wind’s proposal for a wind farm at Sandy Knowe, near Kirkconnel and Kelloholm.
At a series of recent public exhibitions in Kelloholm, New Cumnock and Sanquhar attended by around 60 local people, 70% of those who gave feedback said they were either ‘supportive’ or ‘very supportive’ of the scheme – against just 10% who said they were opposed and the rest undecided.
The 67.5 megawatt (MW) proposal at Sandy Knowe will have a maximum of 27 turbines and could power 38,000 homes - the equivalent of 55% of all homes in Dumfries and Galloway or 70% of East Ayrshire households. It would also offset 76,000tonnes of carbon dioxide 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 £202,500 per year, or £5.06million 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 distribution mechanism would be agreed with local representative groups.
Burcote Wind’s chairman, Graham Brown, said:
“We were really encouraged by the turnout to our recent exhibitions and level of positive feedback we received.
“People seemed to really appreciate the open and honest approach we’re taking, particularly the 3D computer model we provided that allowed people to view the Sandy Knowe proposal from anywhere in the nearby landscape.
“We also asked people for ideas on how the community benefit fund proposed as part of the scheme could be used to address local priorities. We got a very clear steer that people would like the fund to support skills and education, job creation and health and social care initiatives.
“The next step is to set up a community liaison forum made up of key local stakeholders that can look at the issues in greater detail and propose potential uses. We intend to establish this focus group in the near future.
“We’ll now consider the feedback in depth as we progress towards a planning application later this year. We will be holding another public exhibition nearer the submission date when we’ll update people on our progress, including changes made in light of local opinion.”
A community website – www.sandyknowewindfarm.com- has been set up to keep local people informed with maps, photomontages, progress on technical studies and dates of meetings or public exhibitions.
Notes to Editors
1. The 27x 2.5 megawatt (MW) turbines proposed for the Sandy Knowe site would have a combined output of around 67.5MW. This is enough to:
· Power 38,000 homes per year – 55% of all the homes in Dumfries and Galloway or 70% of East Ayrshire homes
· Cut carbon dioxide emissions by 76,000 tonnes
· Help Scotland reach its target to produce 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
2. 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 £202,500 (based on the output of 27 turbines of 67.5MW), or £5.06million over the 25 year lifespan of the development. The payment would be fixed and would not fluctuate with production, to guarantee stable funding. The exact vehicle for delivering this resource to local community projects will be determined in close consultation with community representatives.
3. 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 autumn of 2012 at the earliest.
4. 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.
5. According to the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), in 2010 the total number of households in Dumfries and Gallowaywas 68,408 and the total number of households in East Ayrshirewas 53,722. The Sandy Knowe proposal, capable of generating enough electricity to power 37,743 homes, could therefore power the equivalent of 55% of households in Dumfries and Galloway and 70% of households in East Ayrshire.
For more information, please contact:
0131 257 4232/07989 610 276