August 28, 2014 | Community News
Plans to extend an approved wind farm development in South Lanarkshire are to be unveiled to the public in early September.
Hamilton-based wind energy company Banks Renewables’ proposal to extend its Kype Muir Wind Farm from 26 to 44 turbines would lower the project’s average cost of electricity generation.
Additionally it would also significantly increase the amount of clean, green energy produced; with the benefit of this being shared with the community as a result of the Kype Muir Community Partnership.
The extension plan, which will be submitted to South Lanarkshire Council and the Scottish Energy Consents Unit for consideration, is estimated to be worth £139million to the Scottish economy over the life of the project, with around £74.8million being invested within South Lanarkshire.
It would also help to fund a major local grid upgrade and the provision of a new state of the art, turbine friendly radar at Glasgow Airport.
Kype Muir Wind Farm, south of Strathaven, was given the green light by Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, in May this year after receiving strong support from surrounding communities and South Lanarkshire Council.
The proposal to extend the wind farm would result in the project being able to generate enough electricity to power 99,000 homes every year – equivalent to 70% of all the households in South Lanarkshire.
Following approval of Kype Muir, Banks Renewables has been working with the local community councils to set up the Kype Muir Community Partnership. This is expected to be constituted in the autumn and will see the community having the ability to develop and implement local action plans using funding from their Community Revenue Share in Kype Muir Wind Farm.
Banks Renewables, as part of its commitment to this partnership, is proposing to share the cost benefits of the extension with the community, increasing the Community Revenue Share in the combined 44 turbine project to 2.5% – from the 1.5% currently committed by Kype Muir Wind Farm.
It is estimated this could result in around £32million of funding for community projects over the 25 year lifespan of the wind farm; an increase from the estimated £11million that Kype Muir Wind Farm would deliver.
Colin Anderson, development director of Banks Renewables, said: “When the Scottish Government approved our plans for Kype Muir it made it possible for a really exciting Community Partnership to be delivered, which we are sure will have a hugely positive impact in the local area.
“The extension proposal has been developed with our continued commitment to the partnership, as shown through the proposal to share the cost benefits with the communities. In addition the proposal has been carefully designed to minimise the additional visual impact on the landscape.”
Banks Renewables has developed a 3-D interactive model of the proposal to give local people the best understanding of what the project would look like and this will be used at the upcoming exhibitions.
The extension area was part of the original plan for the Kype Muir wind farm, but was held back to allow additional bird surveying to be carried out on the site.
Colin added: “Now that we have successfully completed our ornithology studies, we are able to take forward a proposal that we believe will define best practice in both technical terms and community engagement.
“The biggest impact will be felt locally with our commitment to support local businesses, to increase employment opportunities for local people and to directly support the communities own plans for their towns and villages.”
“The sharing of grid and aviation infrastructure between Kype Muir wind Farm and Kype Muir Extension means that the overall cost of generating electricity from the wind farm will be lowered, thereby helping to provide cheap, affordable energy for consumers.
Banks will be welcoming the public to exhibitions to view the proposals and ask the development team questions on the following dates: