Issued on behalf of Burcote Wind by Orbit Communications.
Residents in Upper Nithsdale and neighbouring parts of East Ayrshire will have the chance to see renewable energy firm Burcote Wind’s revised proposal for a wind farm at Sandy Knowe, near Kirkconnel and Kelloholm, which could net the community £11.25million over its lifetime.
The events will feature exhibition boards and a 3D computer model of the site to show people how the development would look from practically anywhere in the local landscape. Members of the Burcote Wind project team will also be on hand to answer any questions and collect feedback.
The events will be held at:
- Wednesday 26th September — Hillview Leisure Centre, Kirkland Drive, Kelloholm, DG4 6ST, 1pm-7.30pm
- Thursday 27th September — New Cumnock Community Centre, New Cumnock, KA18 4AH, 1pm-7.30pm
- Friday 28th September – Sanquhar Community Centre, Station Road, Sanquhar, DG4 6BT 1pm-7.30pm
Since a previous round of exhibitions in March – at which 70% of respondents to a questionnaire said they were either ‘supportive’ or ‘very supportive’ of the proposal – the number of turbines planned at the site has increased from 27 to 30.
The change has been made to make best use of the prevailing westerly winds on the site. Despite the increase in numbers, Burcote has moved the nearest turbines further away from properties and the A76 road and the turbines are still more than 2km from Kelloholm village.
The new 30-turbine layout at Sandy Knowe would give the wind farm an installed capacity of 90 megawatts (MW), enough to power 50,000 homes – the equivalent of 73% of all homes in Dumfries and Galloway or 93% of East Ayrshire households. It would also offset 102,000 tonnes 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 to support economic regeneration locally.
Burcote recently increased the amount of community benefit associated with its projects from £3,000 to £5,000 per MW of electricity generating capacity. As a result of this, and the overall increase in turbine numbers, the community benefit fund for Sandy Knowe has more than doubled to be worth £450,000 per year, or £11.25million over the 25-year lifetime of the wind farm.
Since the last round of exhibitions, Burcote has convened a Community Liaison Group of local representatives to discuss the project and the kind of priorities that could be supported by the fund.
Burcote Wind’s chairman, Graham Brown, said:
“We’re looking forward to showing our revised proposal for Sandy Knowe to the community.
“Given the increased number of turbines at the site, the community benefit fund associated with Sandy Knowe will now be worth around £450,000 per year, or £11.25m over the wind farm’s 25-year lifetime.
“We believe a fund of that size can help bring about lasting economic regeneration in the area, for example by providing support to small and startup businesses, helping firms to take on apprentices and equipping young people with improved skills through education and training.
“Although we’ve already had very productive discussions with the Community Liaison Group on how the fund could be used, we want to hear more ideas.
“These events will be the last round of exhibitions before we submit our planning application later this year, so I’d encourage everyone to come along and give us their feedback.”
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. 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.
These results support findings from a recent independent survey, commissioned by Burcote Wind, and returned by 136 local residents. Of those who responded, 64% thought that Sandy Knowe was a good site for a wind farm and only 19% didn’t.
2. The 30x 3 megawatt (MW) turbines proposed for the Sandy Knowe site would have a combined installed capacity of 90MW, capable of producing 237,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) annually. This is enough to:
• Power 50,000 homes per year – 73% of all the homes in Dumfries and Galloway or 93% of East Ayrshire homes
• Cut carbon dioxide emissions by 102,000 tonnes
• Help Scotland reach its target to produce 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
3. The proposed community benefit fund 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 £450,000 (based on the output of 30 turbines of 90MW), or £11.25million 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.
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 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.
5. 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.
6. For more information, please contact Orbit Communications on 0131 603 8996 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.