NEW blueprints for a highly efficient South Lanarkshire wind farm will be presented to the local community at an online consultation event in December.
As a result of Covid-19 restrictions, three virtual exhibitions for Mill Rig, located 6km east of Darvel in East Ayrshire and 12km south west of Strathaven, will take place next week to ensure people can have their say in shaping the project.
The online consultations will take place on Monday (7 December) and Tuesday (8 December), both at 7pm, as well as Wednesday (9 December) at 2pm – and will be accessible by registering attendance in advance through the following link: https://www.banksgroup.co.uk/projects/renewables/mill-rig-wind-farm/
The family-owned employer behind the project, Banks Renewables, had some productive early discussions with the community over the summer allowing it to outline early details of the project.
In addition – and further aided by advancements in turbine technology – the developer has been able to reduce the number of turbines proposed from 10 to six, while keeping the amount of energy that will be generated at a similar level.
The Hamilton-based employer, which is working alongside Wilson Forest Products, wants Mill Rig to deliver significant benefits to the local community, following on from major partnerships at its two other wind farms in South Lanarkshire.
Robin Winstanley, community manager with Banks Renewables, said: “We’re at the early stages of Mill Rig, but it’s a crucial time for us to establish positive working relationships with local people.
“It’s unfortunate, though entirely understandable, that we can’t hold face-to-face meetings at this time, but we don’t want that to hold back the consultation process and give huge thanks to those that have taken the time to communicate with us.
“We held an initial community consultation during the summer, which highlighted the importance of job creation, tackling climate change, focusing on local jobs and community funds as some of the most important factors to the surrounding communities.
“We want Mill Rig to bring huge benefit to this area and also bring Scotland’s renewables ambitions closer to reality, by utilising the lowest cost green electricity available.”
Using the most efficient turbines available Mill Rig will deliver up to 36MW generation capacity – enough to power more than 22,000 homes with green electricity, with a lifespan of 30 years. It will displace more than 18,000 tonnes of CO2 from the UK’s electricity supply grid annually, the equivalent of taking 7000 cars off the road.
Through its Connect2Renewables initiative, Banks Renewables is committing to provide the local community with £5,000 per MW, which could be up to £180,000 a year towards local causes.
The community will benefit from a community benefit fund, which will invest up to £5.4 million into the area over the next 30 years. Banks anticipates £10million of the construction costs to be invested into local businesses, directly supporting 330 jobs.
At its current wind farms in South Lanarkshire, Middle Muir and Kype Muir, Banks has already established partnerships with local community groups and the local authority to ensure a significant positive socio-economic impact.
Likewise, a pledge through Connect2Renewables saw it award contracts wherever possible to local suppliers within 30km. For Kype Muir alone, this commitment has been estimated to boost the local economy by £101million over the lifetime of the development.
Banks Renewables is committed to clean energy and its promotion. It is committed to ensuring that their projects deliver tangible and lasting social, economic and environmental benefits to the communities in which they operate.