Banks News

Investment starts to flow as forestry works begin for wind farm

Left to right, Gordon Thomson, senior project manager, Banks Renewables and Stuart Hansom, Euroforest central Scotland area manager

A South Lanarkshire wind farm has taken another step towards construction, as clearance of a commercial plantation and replanting elsewhere begins.

Hamilton based developer, Banks Renewables, has agreed a contract worth more than £1.5 million with “Euroforest” Scotland to undertake this work to prepare its Kype Muir Wind Farm site ahead of construction.

More than 60,000 tonnes of timber from the sitka spruce plantation is set to be felled to make way for the wind farm site, which is located south of Strathaven, with the work expected to be complete in late 2018.  Replanting will occur elsewhere so there is no net loss of trees.

The contract is a further realisation of the Connect2Renewables initiative between local communities, Banks Renewables and South Lanarkshire Council – with a commitment that local contractors will be prioritised throughout the construction process.

Stuart Hansom, area manager at Euroforest Scotland Central, said: “Renewables are going to play an increasingly large part in Scotland’s economy and we are happy to be playing a role in that.

“This is a significant contract and one that will not only provide work for Scottish workers but pave the way for more direct local employment through the main construction contractors.”

Banks Renewables recently had plans accepted to increase the 26 turbine Kype Muir windfarm by a further 15 turbines – a total that would see the eventual combined project generate 139MW – enough to power 90,000 homes – or a city bigger than Aberdeen.

Community partnership revenues will also be increased from 1.5 per cent of the total revenue offered initially for the Kype Muir development, to 2.5 per cent of the revenue from the combined project once the Kype Muir Extension is built, with a minimum contribution of £5,000 per MW of energy produced.

Along with the boost to local businesses, this revenue for community initiatives could increase the total estimated local revenue from the combined 41 turbine Kype Muir project to £23 million over the 25 year life cycle of the wind farm.

Colin Anderson, development director at Banks Renewables, said: “With the Kype Muir Wind Farm on track to be operational in 2019 we are delighted to be making progress towards construction, through our work with Euroforest Scotland.

“Wherever possible we are looking to maximise the use of local workers throughout the life of the site – ensuring that the use of local subcontractors is a priority during the preparation, building and maintenance of this project.

“Kype Muir has the potential to be transformational for the area, supporting both the local communities and the local economy. I want to also to take his opportunity to highlight the support that South Lanarkshire Council has provided in developing both our Connect2Renewables Charter and the Kype Muir Community Partnership.”

Under the umbrella of their Connect2Renewables Charter, Banks Renewables’ wind farm at Kype Muir in South Lanarkshire provides a unique local investment and development opportunity that will promote and support the local economy by creating jobs, skills and learning opportunities, supporting local businesses, local infrastructure and the environment.

Connect2Renewables is an initiative between the local communities, Banks Renewables and South Lanarkshire Council which seeks to maximise the social, economic and environmental benefit of the development to the local area.

This will be achieved through:

  • A commitment from Banks to deliver as high a percentage as possible of the contracted construction value to companies local to the site
  • A commitment to localise any economic activity throughout the lifecycle of the development
  • The community partnering proposal set out above, and it is proposed for the first five years of operation a minimum of £2,500 per MW per year will be placed into an “employability scheme”
  • This scheme will focus on helping local people gain apprenticeships and workplace learning placements with the aim of improving their employment credentials
  • This will be administered by South Lanarkshire Council for the benefit of the communities of Strathaven, Stonehouse, Lesmahagow and Sandford and Upper Avondale
  • The exact details of the scheme are currently being discussed with the Kype Muir Community Partnership

Banks Renewables is part of the Banks Group (www.banksgroup.co.uk), a family firm founded in 1976, which now employs around 400 people in the renewable energy, property and mining sectors.

To learn more about this project that will bring money, jobs, community benefits and clean energy to South Lanarkshire, please go to: http://www.banksgroup.co.uk/kype-muir/

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