The onshore wind farms owned and operated by the renewable energy arm of north east employer The Banks Group have hit a major landmark for the amount of clean green electricity that they have generated.
The County Durham-headquartered employer’s portfolio of onshore wind farms has generated its two millionth megawatt hour of green energy, a figure which has been reached in just 12 years and which is enough to meet the annual energy requirements of almost 650,000 homes – or a city more than twice the size of Newcastle.
By doing so, they have displaced around half a million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the UK’s electricity supply network, and have also contributed almost £560,000 in total for the community funds linked to the wind farms, which provide funding for voluntary groups, environmental projects and good causes in their respective communities.
Banks’ first onshore wind farm, the 12-turbine West Durham Wind Farm near its then-headquarters in Tow Law, went live in 2009 and was sold to the Irish State electricity utility ESB later in the year to help fund the long-term development of the business.
Since then, the family-owned firm has become one of the leading independent owner/operators in the UK’s onshore wind sector and has developed 11 further onshore wind farms – four in Yorkshire, three in Scotland and two each in the North East and North West.
In the company’s last financial year, the ten schemes that the business currently owns generated almost 645,000 MWh of green electricity between them, which is enough to meet the annual electricity needs of over 155,000 homes or a city roughly the size of York.
Banks Renewables is currently progressing plans to build two more onshore wind farms in Scotland in the next few years – Lethans in East Ayrshire and an extension to its existing Kype Muir wind farm near Hamilton.
It is also looking to deploy further renewable energy technologies at a number of new sites both within and outside its home region, with a planning application for the first of these, the Barnsdale solar energy park to the south east of Leeds, being submitted for review by Leeds City Council at the end of 2020.
Richard Dunkley, managing director at Banks Renewables, says: “We believe we are unique in having used revenues generated from coal mining to drive a successful diversification into the onshore wind sector over the last 15 years and we are immensely proud of the contribution we’re making to the UK generating more of the energy that we all use from renewables means.
“All of our wind farms are continuing to perform impressively, and the completion of the two new Scottish projects that are now underway will almost treble our generating capacity from 222MWh to around 600MWh within the next few years.
“As well as increasing the amount of clean green electricity available to power our homes, schools and workplaces, our wind farms also make a significant direct contribution to the well-being of the communities in which they’re located, a fact which has been especially important over the last year.
“Using the widest possible range of renewable energy generation technologies will allow the UK to work towards reaching its ‘net zero’ and climate change objectives more quickly, while also benefiting British consumers through lower energy prices, and the renewable energy technologies that we’re looking to deploy over the coming years will substantially increase the contribution that we make towards achieving these important ambitions.”