November 8, 2016 | Community News
North East employer the Banks Group is set to start work on one of the UK’s largest onshore wind farm developments, which will be the biggest one it has ever built.
The Durham-headquartered firm’s renewable energy arm, Banks Renewables, has been working with Glasgow Airport and air traffic services company NATS to trial a new radar system at the Airport that would mitigate the impacts of the Kype Muir Wind Farm near Strathaven in South Lanarkshire.
And after successfully completing the trial, Glasgow Airport has confirmed that it will install the new radar system, in advance of the operation of the Kype Muir wind farm.
The radar system is due to be operational in 2018, with NATS also securing the contract to operate and maintain the service for the wind farm’s 25-year lifespan.
The 26-turbine Kype Muir wind farm will initially generate up to a maximum of 88MW of renewable energy, but it is eventually envisaged that Kype Muir, together with its extension, will consist of 41 turbines which would have a maximum generating capacity of 139MW – enough to meet the energy needs of over 90,000 homes.
Construction work on the wind farm will begin early in the new year, and it is expected to be fully commissioned in early 2019.
Due to their height and movement patterns, wind turbines may be detected by Primary Surveillance Radar (PSR) and appear on air traffic control screens which can distract controllers, mask ‘real’ aircraft and mimic the appearance of actual aircraft to the extent that they must be avoided by other aircraft.
Ross Nimmo, Head of Planning and Development at Glasgow Airport, says: “We have been working for over three years to develop this wind turbine mitigation solution in what is a very complex and safety critical environment.
“We are pleased to have reached such a significant milestone and look forward to continue working with NATS and Banks Renewables to deliver the mitigation.”
Iain Harris, NATS Engineering Services Director, adds: “By working with Banks Renewables and Glasgow Airport, we’ve been able to agree a solution that provides both the safe and reliable radar service that the airport needs and allows the development to go ahead.”
Banks Renewables is one of the leading owner/operators in the UK’s onshore wind industry, and has so far built eight wind farms across the north of England and Scotland.
Banks’ Lambs Hill wind farm near Stockton is scheduled to be commissioned before the end of the year, with preparatory work due to start on the company’s tenth site – the Moor House scheme near Darlington – around the same time.
Andrew Liddell, technical director at Banks Renewables, says: “It has been a very positive experience working with the thorough, measured and professional Glasgow Airport team, and both the Airport and NATS have been very proactive with this important project.
“All our wind farms are designed to bring a range of tangible economic, employment, social and supply chain benefits to their respective local areas, and we firmly believe they have a central role to play in the UK’s future energy mix, as well as in generating more of the energy that we all use via renewable means.”