March 26, 2014 | Community News
Staff at Banks Renewables were delighted when our plans for a Lanarkshire wind farm were praised by a senior Government minister for our commitment to supporting local firms.
Ed Davey, MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, name checked a handful of the best green energy projects during an address to the Scottish Renewables Conference in Edinburgh earlier this month.
Among those he held up as examples of good practice was our proposed Kype Muir Wind Farm, south of Strathaven. As part of our community-focused approach to development, we have committed to ensure that a significant portion of contracts associated with the construction of the project would be awarded to local companies.
In a speech which set out Scotland as one of the most dynamic and exciting centres of renewable energy development in Europe, the Minister said investment in the sector was at record levels.
His department’s planning database shows that Scottish renewables projects which have already been consented are set to generate 5GW, are worth around £4bn to the economy and will support more than 4,000 jobs.
He added: “A further 9.7GW of Scottish renewables projects are currently in the planning system worth over £10bn, supporting almost 8,000 jobs.
“These include … the Kype Muir Wind Farm that would see contracts worth up to £20 million placed with local businesses.”
In April 2012 South Lanarkshire Council’s Planning Committee voted to not object to the Kype Muir proposals. Since then the application has been with the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit which, following the removal of all aviation objections to the project earlier this year, is expected to make the final decision on whether the project can go-ahead within the next three months.
Colin Anderson, development director of Banks Renewables, said: “We were delighted that the Secretary of State singled out our Kype Muir project for its potential to deliver significant benefits to the Lanarkshire economy.
“We have made huge efforts to work with the local communities and businesses to develop the proposals for Kype Muir and a particular focus has been to ensure that local businesses get the maximum benefits possible should the scheme go ahead.
“Mr Davey was absolutely right that we expect up to £20m worth of contracts will be placed with local companies and to achieve this we are already working with South Lanarkshire Council and directly with local businesses on developing the project supply chain and helping local firms to pre-qualify for tender lists and gear up for the pipeline of work that will flow if Kype Muir gets the green light.
“Local businesses will be involved in everything from construction and maintenance, ground works, quarry and building products, plant hire and haulage, waste solutions, fabrication, aggregates, utilities, professional services, hospitality and many more areas.
“But that is just part of the story. Across the 25 year lifetime of Kype Muir Wind Farm the total investment in the Scottish economy would be worth around £137m, with £86m of that in South Lanarkshire, supporting around 226 jobs.
“It is also worth highlighting that the local community has a stake in Kype Muir Wind Farm through a revenue share agreement. This will result in an estimated £16.4m of community revenues over 25 years, available to local groups, causes and projects identified by local people. Following feedback from the communities, we’ve ring-fenced a proportion of this funding for new training and employment initiatives to help local people into a job.
“If Kype Muir secures approval, we are committed to developing the wind farm in partnership with the surrounding communities, local businesses and South Lanarkshire Council. I think this is the way projects have to be taken forward to ensure that maximum benefits are delivered where it matters – locally!
“Yet the benefits from Kype Muir go further. Around 576 acres of new habitat will be created, enhancing native wildlife and woodland and creating opportunities for locals and visitors alike, not least on the 15km of new recreational tracks we hope to create.
“And of course, no-one should forget that the clean, green energy provided by Kype Muir would provide an annual carbon saving equivalent to taking 46,900 cars off the road, every year. That would also help the Scottish Government achieve its ambitious targets for renewable energy.”
Full details on the Kype Muir Wind Farm are at http://www.banksgroup.co.uk/kype-muir/