Two new efficient onshore wind farms are helping South Lanarkshire to become a key hub of renewable energy production.
From October 2019 to October 2020, Banks Renewables’ Kype Muir and Middle Muir wind farms generated over 500,000MWh – enough to provide more than 120,000 homes or over 290,000 people with electricity: That is more than the city of Aberdeen.
The larger of the two renewable projects, Kype Muir, produced more than 331,000MWh, while 15-turbine Middle Muir, which features some of the UK’s tallest onshore wind turbines at 149.9 metres and is situated just north of Crawfordjohn, produced 169,000MWh.
Andy Liddell, development director with Banks Renewables, which is based in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, said: “We’re now recording an incredible scale of renewable energy production that demonstrates just how efficient wind turbine technology has become.
“When paired with suitable locations, like at Kype Muir and Middle Muir, onshore wind projects really can deliver significant output.
“This, along with the local economic boost that can be delivered is exactly why onshore wind projects should be central to our net zero ambitions.”
Both wind farms are covered by Banks Renewables Connect2Renewables charter, created with the support of local communities and South Lanarkshire Council, and which seeks to maximise the local social, environmental and economic benefits of its work.
Connect2Renewables saw Banks give contracts to numerous local suppliers within 30km of each wind farm. For Kype Muir alone, the economic uplift in this area, from this has been estimated to be over £100million over the lifetime of the project.
Banks is contributing £1.74m from Middle Muir and Kype Muir Wind Farms, over the first five years of their operation, to fund an earning, working, learning initiative. This fund is administered by the local authority as part of the Connect2Renewables initiative to break down the financial barriers that prevent local unemployed people living within 10km of either site from gaining employment or workplace learning opportunities.
Beyond that, both sites combined will generate community funds of over £24m over the lifecycle of the wind farms for good causes, distributed in partnership with local communities. Community funding of £21,000 has been distributed to local communities to provide relief to vulnerable local people during the coronavirus lockdown.
Before Christmas last year, Banks held an online consultation for a new six turbine project, Mill Rig, near to Drumclog, as well as revealing early intentions for what would become its largest project, Bodinglee, which if consented would become the UK’s third largest onshore wind development.
Note: According to the latest Census and other official data the city of Aberdeen has a population of c200,680 and over 105,000 homes.