Revised plans for a community backed wind farm that could positively transform the local economy have been submitted following a careful redesign.
Hamilton-based employer, Banks Renewables, has amended plans for the Lethans Wind Farm in order to boost the amount of clean, green energy generated, while maintaining its commitments for a 22-turbine site.
Situated east of New Cumnock, the revised plans will optimise the electrical generating efficiency of the site in order to supply an estimated 105.6MW of energy to the National Grid – enough to power over 90,000 homes*.
The improved proposal looks to increase the site’s lifespan from 25 to 30 years, as well as increase the height and the rotor diameter of the turbines, allowing Banks to invest even more in the local community and economy.
Communities within 10km of Lethans would benefit from a £7.1m local community benefit fund; a £1.3m skills and training fund to help around 440 local unemployed people overcome barriers to work; £250,000 contribution towards new mountain bike trails on the Lethans site; £7.1m contribution East Ayrshire Council’s Renewable Energy Fund; as well offering the local community the opportunity to purchase up to a 5% share in the wind farm.
Jeannie Kielty, community relations manager at Banks Renewables, said: “Our updated plans are really exciting and reflect our commitment to delivering real, long-lasting benefits to East Ayrshire.
“If the amendments are approved, it will enable us to increase the clean, green electricity generated by Lethans Wind Farm, as well as make an investment of approximately £39m into the Scottish economy during construction. Overall, it is estimated that £132m will be invested into the Scottish economy during the project lifecycle.
The site was initially granted planning consent by the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit in March 2018 following a positive recommendation from East Ayrshire Council.
Jeannie added: “We’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the planning process over the past couple of years and hope that it will once again lead to a positive decision from the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit and local planning authority.”
In line with its Connect2Renewables initiative, Banks hopes to create upwards of 130 direct jobs during the site’s constructions and prioritising local companies, wherever possible, for the construction contracts.
The Hamilton based employer has been praised for its partnership approach to the proposals by working with members of the local community at each stage of the planning process.
If approved, the electricity generated from the wind farm will provide funding to deliver tailored benefits to directly fit the needs of the communities, including helping to support their recently launched action plans.
The firm is also offering the community the opportunity to purchase up to a 5% stake in the project at a discounted rate, presenting an opportunity for long lasting, positive benefits for the local area.
Banks Renewables is committed to clean energy and its promotion. They are equally driven to ensure that their projects deliver tangible social, economic and environmental benefits to the communities in which they operate.
*Calculated using industry standard approved BEIS methodology