Plans Unveiled Plans for 300 MW Wind Farm

AMEC, the international project management and services company, has submitted plans for a wind farm in East Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. The development of 100 turbines, with an installed capacity of around 300 MW, will supply clean green energy equivalent to the domestic requirements of approximately 8 percent of Scotland’s population.

The site is located near to the town of Dalmellington and includes parts of the Kyle and Carsphairn forests. The development has been designed to work alongside existing commercial forestry and opencast coal mining operations within the forest. The 8,000 hectare site has no special conservation or landscape status and sits within an area identified by Scottish Natural Heritage as suitable for wind farm development. As a consequence of the development, a habitat management plan will be put in place with substantial ecological benefits for habitats such as blanket bog and a range of species including black grouse. Initial public exhibitions took place in November 2003 and AMEC has since held a further round of public exhibitions in addition to informal open days to discuss the proposal. Environmental studies and investigations at the outset indicated that a wind farm consisting of up to 150 turbines could be developed on the site. However, this number reduced to 100 turbines following environmental assessments, carried out by independent experts, and comments from the community. “This proposal has gone through many changes since we first consulted with the community in November 2003,” said David Hodkinson, managing director of AMEC’s wind energy business. “Through careful site design and our consultations with bodies such as Scottish Natural Heritage we have ensured that the final layout is sympathetic to the existing landscape and topography of the surrounding area. The implementation of a community fund for the development will provide positive local benefits to the community that reflect the size of the proposal. We anticipate that the community fund will amount to an annual payment in the region of &pound300,000.” A full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was submitted with the planning application under Section 36 of the Electricity Act. This ensures that consent for wind farms with a greater installed capacity than 50MW is provided by the Scottish Ministers. The formal 28 day public consultation period will end on 10th of December and if the application is successful it is anticipated that construction of the project could begin as early as 2007. The wind farm will contribute to the Scottish Executive’s commitment to raise the overall proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources in Scotland to 18 percent by 2010 and the aspirational target of 40 percent by 2020.
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