Plans lodged for community partnership wind farm

October 17, 2013 | Community News

We have submitted a planning application to Dumfries and Galloway Council for a “community” wind farm near Twynholm; after an extensive period working closely with the Council, residents and businesses to develop a unique Community Partnership proposal that will be delivered if the project is approved.

We have been building strong relationships within the local community and recently held a number of well attended public events to unveil the final proposals for the seven turbine Knockendurrick Wind Farm, including the Community Partnership programme, which would deliver significant long term benefits for the area and support all of the communities surrounding the wind farm.

If Dumfries and Galloway Council approves the application, the proposed Community Partnership would result in the communities receiving 3% of the gross annual revenue of the wind farm, estimated to average around £260,000 a year* or £6.5M over the lifespan of the wind farm.

In addition, the community would have the opportunity to purchase up to a 5% stake in the operating wind farm, thereby helping to deliver one of the key Scottish Government renewable energy targets of encouraging and increasing community ownership in renewable energy projects.

The additional revenue from this direct investment could help deliver many more exciting local projects and further support the surrounding communities.

Colin Anderson, development director at Banks Renewables, said: “We have submitted plans for a wind farm that would be delivered in a way that guarantees it would have a hugely positive impact on local communities surrounding the site for a generation.

“We have made a very deliberate effort over the last year or so to involve local people in the development process, as it is only through working positively together that all aspects of such a complex development proposal can be fully understood.

“During this time we have appreciated the willingness of many local people who have participated and now believe we’ve reached a really good conclusion to this stage of the process with the submission of the application.

“Working closely with local people has given us an understanding of the issues that they are concerned about; which includes the lack of job opportunities, access to apprenticeships and training for the unemployed. These are therefore things that we hope to prioritise and address directly through the Knockendurrick Wind Farm Partnership.”

The application includes clear and measureable commitments on vital areas like the use of local contractors and the management of construction activities to minimise disruption.

Colin added, “We hope however to take this further by working directly with local businesses and organisations to drive the economic benefits of the project right down to grass roots level.”

The recent series of public events in the area were attended by 104 people and the proposals were warmly received.

‘Meet the Buyer’ events were held in conjunction with these meetings to encourage local businesses to get involved in the project, to guide them through the pre-tender qualification process and to enable them to register their interest in the training and apprenticeship scheme that would be delivered should the project get the go ahead.

We have committed to working with Dumfries and Galloway Council and local businesses to try to achieve a direct injection into the local economy of upwards of £4.8M from the construction stage alone; which in turn will create meaningful employment opportunities for local people.

During the construction of the wind farm, contracts will be required for a variety of jobs including construction and maintenance, ground works, quarry and building products, plant hire and haulage, waste solutions, fabrication, aggregates, utilities, professional services and hospitality.

We are already working closely with local firm Natural Power who are a key delivery partner for the project. The Castle Douglas based firm is providing support across a range of disciplines including planning, ground conditions, site investigation, site design, access and transportation.

The planning application for the seven turbine Knockendurrick Wind Farm, which could generate up to 23.8MW of energy, was submitted to Dumfries and Galloway Council on September 27.

As a direct result of community feedback from the exhibitions, and the technical and environment factors, the number of turbines was reduced to seven from the original design of ten.

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