£5.6 million community benefit to accompany Upper Nithsdale wind farm proposal


Note – Figures were correct at time of issue but have since been updated in line with reduction of proposed turbines from 30 to 27 due to landscape constraints. See homepage for correct figures.

Newly announced proposals for a wind farm on land five kilometres south-west of Kirkconnel in Upper Nithsdale could generate a community benefit fund worth £5.6 million. Comprising 30 turbines, each with an installed capacity of 2.5 megawatts, the proposed Sandy Knowe wind farm has the potential to generate sufficient electricity to power 42,000 homes – equivalent to more than 60% of all homes in Dumfries and Galloway.

The proposals have been brought forward by Burcote Wind, a Dunfermline-based independent renewable energy company specialising in onshore wind energy projects.

If approved, Sandy Knowe wind farm would be accompanied by a community benefit fund worth £225,000 per year or £5.6 million over its 25-year lifetime to support local community projects. This level of community benefit is based on the current proposal for a wind farm with an installed capacity of 75 megawatts. Each megawatt of installed capacity will provide the local community with a guaranteed income of £3000 per year for each year of the wind farm’s lifetime.

Over the coming months, Burcote Wind hopes to have detailed discussions with local groups to determine the practicalities of managing and allocating the proposed community benefit fund to support local projects and initiatives in the event that the wind farm were to get the go-ahead.

The proposed wind farm site is located in a previously industrialised landscape, and has very good wind resource with average wind speeds of eight metres per second. The wind farm would offset almost 85,000 tonnes of CO2 each year, making a major contribution to reducing the carbon footprint in Dumfries and Galloway.

Burcote Wind does not intend to submit a planning application for the proposed Sandy Knowe wind farm until mid 2012 at the earliest. In the meantime, the company has plans to undertake an extensive programme of engagement with the local community about its proposals. As part of this process, Burcote will host a series of public exhibitions and intends to set up a dedicated project website providing detailed information and regular updates about the project.

Burcote Wind Chairman Graham Brown said:

“Our proposals for a wind farm at Sandy Knowe have the potential to make a major contribution to meeting the future energy needs of Dumfries and Galloway and Scotland as a whole with a supply of clean, green electricity that will also help tackle climate change by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

“But we also understand how sensitive wind farm proposals can be. This is why we are keen to engage with the local community at such an early stage of the process, giving local groups and individuals ample opportunity to help shape our proposals for the site.

“We strongly believe that the community should also enjoy tangible benefits from having a wind farm in the local area. We are committed to providing a community benefit fund worth £3000 of guaranteed income per year for every megawatt of installed capacity at the site. Based on our current proposals, that would provide a fund worth £5.6 million over the wind farm’s 25 year lifetime.”

Mr. Brown concluded:

“Over the coming months, we look forward to engaging extensively with the local community around the Sandy Knowe wind farm site. I would encourage anyone with an interest in the project to get involved in the community engagement process and help us to develop a balanced proposal that provides genuine benefits for the local area.”

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.

2. The proposed community benefit fund for the proposed Sandy Knowe wind farm 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 £225,000 (based on the output of 30 turbines of 75MW), or £5.6 million 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.

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 summer of 2012 at the earliest.

4. For more information, please contact Orbit Communications on 0131 603 8996 or email contact@orbit-comms.co.uk.


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