January 24, 2013 | Community News
We have redrawn plans for a site in East Ayrshire which will see it deliver more renewable energy from fewer turbines.
The changes are in response to feedback from local people, who said they would be even happier with the High Cumnock scheme if the proposed 13 turbines could be reduced a little.
We now intend to submit a planning application for just eight turbines which, if approved, would actually generate greater benefits for the local communities than the original proposal.
Colin Anderson, director at Banks Renewables, said: “We are committed to development with care, which means listening to what local people have to say and then working with them every step of the way as we develop our projects.
“Development with care also means delivering a lasting and positive legacy to the families and businesses in the areas where we operate.
“At High Cumnock we have proposed a partnership with local communities around the wind farm which would give them a share in all the revenues generated by the wind farm.
“The communities can decide how they want to invest this and identify the local projects and opportunities that are most important to them, with funding available to make them happen.
“Following the feedback we got from local people, we reviewed the principles of the project and developed the idea of slightly increasing the height of the proposed turbines to allow us to operate turbines with a much greater capacity – 3.4MW compared to the original 2.05MW capacity machines.
“In turn this has enabled us to reduce the overall number from 13 to 8, which we and the people who attended our recent exhibitions seem to agree is a really positive improvement.
“The new proposal provides an overall capacity of 27.2MW, compared to the original proposal of 26.7MW, thereby increasing the communities’ minimum annual revenues to £136,000.
“The larger turbines are also more efficient in the excellent wind conditions prevailing in this area, so the benefits from the revenue sharing partnership should be significantly greater still.”
To ensure a lasting, positive legacy for the area, we are committed to delivering significant employment and training opportunities for local people.
Mr Anderson added: “Almost every one of the many local people we’ve met in the area over the last year have made it clear what they want – better jobs, training and apprenticeship opportunities, particularly for young people.
“It’s now about action and I’m pleased to say we’re making significant progress on a major initiative to deliver exactly what that the community wants. This has to be done in partnership with East Ayrshire Council, local businesses, community groups and training providers and all parties seem committed to the same very clear objective.”
More than 12 months of public consultation culminated in public exhibitions in the area on December 4 and 6. The feedback from those who attended has been hugely positive towards the final proposals and the amendments made as a result of the earlier feedback.
Mr Anderson added: “We’d like to thank all of those who’ve taken the time to come along to the various exhibitions and community meetings over the last year. We really do appreciate their input, which on this project has had a very visible and positive impact on the final site design.”
Among those who attended the public exhibitions was local businessman, John Loy, director of Total Traffic Management, based in Auchinleck.
He said: “I was hugely impressed with what was discussed. I hadn’t appreciated the extent to which the firm were committed to improving life for those living and working locally.
“As someone who has recently set up a business, I was encouraged to hear that Banks Renewables plan to employ as many local people as possible during the development of the High Cumnock wind farm site, as there is a lack of employment opportunities in the area. There will clearly be opportunities for our business to win work and in turn protect the jobs of the local people we employ.
“Banks Renewables representatives were transparent and approachable, and over and above the potential for future work, I was also impressed to hear about the firm’s plans to set up apprenticeships and youth employment schemes which are intended to be progressed in partnership with the local communities.”
The proposed Banks Renewables High Cumnock Wind Farm would create enough electricity to power 21,600 homes and would remove around 37,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere every year, emissions that would otherwise be released producing this energy by non-renewable means.