November 30, 2015 | Community News
A leading engineering consultancy with a prominent Glasgow office has been appointed by Banks Renewables to oversee the pre-construction work at two important South Lanarkshire wind farm projects.
Grontmij has been awarded ‘first major supplier contracts’ for both Middle Muir and Kype Muir Wind Farms to undertake data analysis to provide information for the civil engineers to be able to plan the installation of the wind turbines and electricity sub-stations.
A factor which worked in Grontmij’s favour was the number of people it employs locally in South Lanarkshire and the level of local knowledge and understanding which was demonstrated in the procurement process.
The combined construction costs of both sites are expected to reach £150m – with the use of local contracting firms to be prioritised wherever possible.
The contract between Grontmij and Hamilton based developer, Banks Renewables also guarantees the use of local sub-contractors plus a work placement for a local school-leaver – a direct result of the innovative Connect2Renewables charter, which outlines an unprecedented commitment to the local area surrounding the two wind farm projects.
Connect2Renewables, which was officially launched last year, sees Banks Renewables team up with the communities and its delivery partner, South Lanarkshire Council, committing a minimum of £69 million to the local economy and communities in the area.
The charter also ensures the creation of a dedicated job fund – set to support around 457 local unemployed people back into work, training or further education, during the construction, operational life and decommission of the Kype Muir and Middle Muir Wind Farm projects.
Grontmij, from its Glasgow office, will interpret data gathered by Hamilton based Raeburn Drilling and Geotechnical, to prepare usable information for the civil engineers tasked with planning the installation of the turbines and substations.
Senior Renewables Engineer at Grontmij, Kathryn Sanders, said: “We are delighted to be able to help Banks Renewables deliver on their commitments to the local area surrounding Kype Muir and Middle Muir wind farms in Scotland.
“Onshore wind generation projects tend to promise a lot in the long-term, through community funds and of course their green energy, but the Connect2Renewables initiative means that the local area has been already receiving some benefits.
“We are happy to be able to support the objectives of Connect2Renewables by sub-contracting a good deal of the work to excellent local businesses, in addition to providing opportunities such as a hands-on industry work experience placement.
“Grontmij have supported Banks with our geotechnical and civil engineering expertise on many wind farm projects. It continues to be great to work alongside them from the start, particularly as they pay attention during the development of their projects and are willing to adapt to accommodate local concerns.”
Kype Muir Wind Farm, located just South of Strathaven is a 26 turbine 104MW Wind Farm and was approved in May last year, followed in September with the approval of Middle Muir Wind Farm, North of Crawfordjohn, which is a 51MW, 15-turbine project set to deliver the tallest onshore turbines on mainland UK.
Development director, Colin Anderson, said: “These projects have taken years of careful planning and consideration – so it is a major milestone to see them reach this stage in the journey.
“Despite not being able to award this particular contract to a small local firm, Grontmij have been very understanding of our commitments and as a result have ensured that local firms are subcontracted wherever possible, maximising the benefit to the region.
“When we formally launched Connect2Renewables late last year, along with the communities and our delivery partner, South Lanarkshire Council, we knew that it had the potential to transform the region for the better, I believe that now this is beginning to show.”
“What is particularly exciting is that this is just the very start. Once operational, these projects will substantially boost the South Lanarkshire economy.
“This is a bold and sweeping claim and easy to lose perspective of – but it will be felt most when we see the human benefits, such as increased opportunities for those out of work and education, along with the positive transformation of vital community groups, which do so much good and are so often starved of funding.”
Banks Renewables is part of the Banks Group (www.banksgroup.co.uk), a family firm founded in 1976, which now employs more than 420 people in the renewable energy, property and mining sectors.