Hamilton-based developer Banks Renewables is gearing up to provide Fife with a surge of green energy with proposals for a new wind farm.
The firm is in the early stages of designing a wind farm development comprising of up to 5 turbines in the Hilton Farm area of Fife, to the east of Kelty and the north of Cowdenbeath.
Should plans go ahead, the wind farm could generate up to 10MW of energy, which could power more than 5591homes in Fife, displacing up to 11300 tonnes of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere that would otherwise be released if this electricity was produced from fossil fuel power generation.
Colin Anderson, director at Banks Renewables, said: “We’ve identified Hilton Farm as having excellent potential for a wind farm due to the good wind resource, grid connectability and potential for the landscape to accommodate a sensitively designed development. Our assessment is however at a very early stage.
“All our projects are heavily influenced by local opinion and therefore the vital first step in the design process is getting positive dialogue going with local people and community groups.
“This ensures that their views are taken into account from the very beginning. We have already had initial discussions with the community councils and will be seeking their advice on how best to get local people’s views on the proposals going forward.
“We do however actively encourage local residents and local businesses to come directly to us with their comments and suggestions at any time.
“In addition we expect to be holding a series of public exhibitions in the coming months to provide further opportunities for people to discuss the proposal with us.
“Our ‘development with care’ approach demands absolute professionalism in everything we do and has now evolved into us applying a partnership philosophy to our developments, inclusive of key stakeholders including local communities.
“This in turn gives local people the chance to consider the wide ranging opportunities that a local investment of this scale could bring to them and come forward with ideas on where community funding should be directed.
“We will be carrying out a range of detailed environmental assessments including ecological and ornithological surveys over coming months and feedback from these will be passed to the communities and will shape the design process.
“It is exciting that we’ve already had some really interesting ideas put to us about how the proposals could help deliver local environmental improvements and support existing initiatives.
“The lack of employment and training opportunities has also been highlighted as a key issue locally and as a result we are already considering how we could support dedicated educational and training schemes for local people.
“Hopefully we can build on all of these ideas and come up with a really exceptional proposal to take forward into planning and that in time will deliver long lasting benefits for this area of Fife”
As part of the planning process, an application has been submitted to Fife Council to erect an 80m test mast on the site to so that the wind resource can be fully understood and can inform the design process.
Banks Renewables is known for maximising the economic, environmental and community benefits that are delivered by its developments and ensuring that these target local issues as identified by local people.
This has resulted in a track record of successful job creation initiatives, provision of community infrastructure and direct funding into community groups and environmental projects over more than 35 years.
Community funding packages last for the 25 year life-time of a Banks wind farm and allow the company to leave a lasting legacy for the communities surrounding its developments.
Colin added: “Getting planning permission is only part of what we do and very much the first step. The development of the partnership with the local community is however the key as we believe this is the best way of achieving real benefits for local families and businesses and a positive legacy which exceeds the lifetime of the wind farm and continues to benefit the local community and area long after we have left.”
Power generated by wind farms will help Scotland continue to enjoy the constant, reliable energy supply upon which our lifestyle depends – and has already reduced reliance on fossil fuels imported from unstable overseas markets.
Colin highlighted: “The Scottish Government is firmly committed to producing all the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020. We hope this scheme will be a part of that, which in turn will bring jobs, commercial opportunities and many other benefits to this part of Fife”